Ankur Singh said that last month he was traveling by bus from Illinois to Minnesota, and his itinerary included an early-morning, five-hour layover in Des Moines, Iowa. The bus arrived in Des Moines and dropped the passengers off at 4 a.m., but the bus terminal didn't open its doors until 5 a.m. That meant Singh and about 10 other passengers were forced to wait outside for an hour in frigid Midwestern temperatures in the dead of winter. Singh said that with the windchill, it was minus 17 degrees that morning.
In the wake of the incident, Singh took to the internet, posting a petition to Change.org titled "Greyhound: Don't Put Customers at Risk for Hypothermia and Frostbite." As of this writing, it's garnered more than 88,000 signatures.
The good news is that it doesn't appear that any of the stranded passengers actually got frostbite or hypothermia. Singh says he survived by putting on all the clothes in his bag. He also says that when an older woman waiting with them started "shaking uncontrollably," another man gave her his jacket. Giving those conditions, it's easy to see how the layover could have ended in disaster.
Perhaps most troubling is that Greyhound didn't give any kind of warning about the outdoor layover on their tickets. Singh says passengers weren't informed until after they'd boarded the bus.
The good news is that the petition seems to have caught Greyhound's attention. Singh says he spoke with a media relations director from the company who informed him that the company was speaking with the partner carriers who owned the Des Moines station.
"I just want to make sure they solve it nationwide and not just at the [Des Moines] station," he says.
In the meantime, though, there's the issue of Greyhound failing to warn customers of the outdoor layovers in advance. Singh says that topic didn't come up during his conversation, and Greyhound did not respond to our request for comment.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.
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