This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take the service at St. Mary La Prairie Anglican Church in Portage La Prairie. I don’t drive, but given the location of Portage La Prairie, rather than try and arrange a ride, I decided to take the Greyhound out there.
In the past taking a Greyhound was really convenient because the bus depot was a ten minute walk from my house. However, a couple of years ago, in order to make the downtown a safer place, and the use of the bus more desirable they moved it out across from the airport terminal, meaning that it’s about half-an-hour to get their now.
From the outside, the passenger terminal is a low-slung white building with a lot of glass in it. That is the end of it’s good qualities. First of all, they imported one of the worst features of the old bus depot, that being those hard plastic bucket seats, that swivel, but can’t be moved.
The old bus depot, whatever it lacked, at least had televisions up where you could catch the latest news highlights, the Olympics and other odds and ends. The old bus depot also had a television dedicated to children’s programs.
The old bus depot, also had Sals and the gift shop. Granted, neither was an exemplar of fine dining or retail excellence, but they still beat having two or three vending machines tucked away in one corner. The bus depot does point out that there is a Tim Horton’s on the main floor of the airport terminal across the way.
This is some consolation, but it means you have to tote all your bags around with you. Well, you can put them in a locker, but they cost $5.00. Yes, that $5.00 gets you up to six hours storage, but if you only want it for an hour $5.00 is rather steep.
Of course, after Vince Li there is a security check before you board the bus. In truth, I think this is more for appearances than anything, because I’m sure anybody who is willing to make half and effort could probably sneak something on without too much trouble. This also raises another question. Is it only people who leave from major terminals that are a risk? Coming home from Portage La Prairie, the bus only stop long enough to throw our bags into the baggage compartment and take our ticket and we were off.
The trip itself was short and uneventful, but it left me wondering. Perhaps Greyhound should try a new strategy to attract riders. They can call it, CUSTOMER SERVICE. If you can have baggage check-in at the airport, why not at the bus depot. Why not give bus riders semi-comfortable seats to wait in. perhaps a little coffee bar as well, and a couple of flat screens aren’t going to bankrupt you. So what do you say, quit treating bus passengers as an inconvenience to your day to day routine, and maybe you’ll get some more riders.