Your Greyhound bus is late – what can you do about it?

His Greyhound bus is late. But GPS says it arrived.

Jason Levitis emailed me recently from Greyhound bus No. 2559 from New York to D.C., which was supposed to arrive at 11 p.m. The problem? It was 12:25 a.m. and the motor coach was cruising down Interstate 95.

“This is a bit disappointing, but not surprising,” says Levitis, an attorney from the District. “But what does surprise me is that Greyhound’s tracking system says the bus arrived at Union Station at 11:32 p.m.”

He attached an image to his email, time-stamped at 12:29 a.m. Sure enough, No. 2559 had already arrived, according to Greyhound’s site.

His case raises a few interesting questions. Does a bus company’s on-time record matter? Does anyone track it? And what happens if your bus is late?

His Greyhound bus is late — so what’s going on here?

Greyhound says its drivers use a system that allows them to record their arrival times when they reach a station.

“In this case, a driver on another bus accidentally recorded his arrival time under the wrong bus number, making it appear as if Mr. Levitis’s bus had arrived when it had not yet made it to the station,” says Crystal Booker, a Greyhound spokeswoman. “We base our performance numbers on when our buses actually arrive at our terminals. We take pride in the accuracy of our data, and we will continue to train drivers in this area to avoid future discrepancies.”

Greyhound’s on-time record may be irrelevant — at least legally. When it comes to customer service, motor carriers have little federal oversight. The Transportation Department doesn’t issue monthly report cards on service complaints, as it does for airlines. Ticket refunds, checked luggage, schedules and reservations are lightly regulated. For example, the department requires that all checked baggage be made available to the passenger within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 minutes, after arrival at the destination.

The only regulation that would apply to Levitis’s situation is a rule that prohibits motor carriers such as Greyhound from scheduling a route between points that would necessitate the vehicle operating “at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated.” In other words, if it routinely takes more than five hours to drive from New York to Washington, then Greyhound isn’t allowed to publish a schedule that shows a four-hour trip.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which enforces these regulations, inherited a set of arcane customer service rules when Congress eliminated the Interstate Commerce Commission two decades ago. While these regulations from the 1940s and 1950s technically remain on the books, the agency’s primary focus now is on safety.

The Transportation Department maintains a database of consumer complaints. A quick look at the complaints form for bus passengers offers an overview of the service issues in which the government would get involved. For instance, it would register your complaint if the carrier didn’t refund an unused ticket within 30 days, or if a scheduled bus departed from a terminal before a public announcement. However, the database isn’t accessible to the public, so it’s impossible for the average rider to know if a bus company has a problem keeping its schedule.

If the federal government doesn’t keep on-time data for buses and doesn’t require bus companies to keep their schedules, then why bother reporting on-time numbers at all? It also makes Greyhound’s decision in 2015 to offer real-time GPS satellite tracking of its buses puzzling. BusTracker allows you to search for a bus by schedule number, departure city or arrival city. It automatically updates every one to four minutes, pulling data from three tracking systems installed on all of Greyhound’s buses. But the system also warns that “On-time service is based on estimated departure and arrival times, which may be delayed by various factors including weather, traffic and road conditions.”

Terms and conditions — Greyhound style

Greyhound’s “Terms and Conditions of Purchase & Carriage,” the legal agreement between you and the company, explicitly says that it is not responsible for keeping its schedules, citing “delays caused by breakdowns, road conditions, weather or other conditions beyond carrier’s reasonable control.” But, it adds, Greyhound will make “reasonable attempts” to minimize the delays or make alternate arrangements to enable bus travel to your final destination.

A better approach to dealing with a scheduling problem with a motor carrier is to ask for compensation as a goodwill gesture. While Greyhound doesn’t make any customer-service warranties, its parent company, FirstGroup, does, promising to “keep our customers at the heart of everything we do.” So, while federal law or its customer contract may not require a voucher or partial refund for a delayed bus, you might be able to persuade a company such as Greyhound to offer compensation.

That’s what Jacquie Cadorette does whenever her bus from New York to Philadelphia is delayed.

“When things don’t work out on the schedule I want, I start by using the extra time I have to call the company,” says Cadorette, a website editor who lives in New York. “If they’re not apologetic about the issue, I’ll do my best to reach out to someone higher up with my concerns.”

Often, the operator will apologize and offer a partial or full refund. The company doesn’t have to, but it does. After all, when it comes to ground transportation, there’s still lots of competition from other bus services, ride sharing and Amtrak. If a motor carrier doesn’t help a passenger like Cadorette, someone else will.

Bottom line, no one can hold the company accountable for its schedules except its own passengers.

Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.