Greyhound, the bus of necessity rather than of choice for many low-income travelers around the country, provides its tickets more cheaply for those who buy them online. That transaction, though, assumes you have a credit card and internet access for online purchasing. Low income people who do not have credit cards and computers must go to their local Greyhound station, stand in line and then pay cash for their tickets. Their tickets will cost them much more than what on line purchasers pay.
The Catholic Workers at Viva House in Baltimore told me this of this inequity on a recent visit. Later one of them went to the Greyhound station there to compare online prices with onsite cash prices. She found that for travel between Baltimore and New York, the cash purchase price at the station itself is $37 each way, with no reduction for round trip fare. Online, however, the cost is $40 round trip, or $20 each way–a considerable saving. Anyone who has ever passed though a Greyhound station and looked around quickly realizes that it is primarily poor people who are there. The old truism, the poor pay more, still holds true. Greyhound has found a way to penalize its low-income travelers. In Baltimore, it has made these travelers still more difficult by relocating their station from its previous easily accessible downtown location, to a part of the city difficult to reach by public transportation. Go Big Dog!
True, Greyhound owns Bolt Bus, which offers lower fares on its New York-Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington run. But again, you must go online to buy them. Some advocates for the poor say that Bolt Bus is Greyhound’s way of luring back higher income people. I myself favor the Chinatown buses that charge, $35 round trip from New York City to Baltimore and Washington.
George Anderson, S.J.