My college daughter and a friend just got back from a spring-break trip to San Francisco, traveling on the déclassé transportation choice of the masses (and starving college students everywhere): Greyhound. The very first leg of the journey, from Seattle to Portland, was on a shiny new bus with comfortable seats and clean restrooms, they said. The rest of the trip: Well, not so much. Those dogs had run a lot of miles.
So it might come as good news that Greyhound on Monday announced its largest bus purchase in more than 20 years, for 220 new buses.
They’ll feature a new blue and chrome exterior – or “livery,” in motor-coach lingo — with interior comfort of the kind I sure don’t remember from cross-country freeway voyages of my teenage days: Wi-Fi, power outlets, leather seating, added legroom, wheelchair accessibility and three-point safety belts. Powered by low-emission “clean-diesel” engines, they’ll also feature driver aides such as GPS and something called “DriveCam” (which I trust doesn’t mean the driver can nap at the wheel, something I used to worry about on bus trips in the middle of the night in Montana).
The buses are coming from Illinois-based Motor Coach Industries (MCI), which builds buses in Manitoba and North Dakota, and Prevost, a Quebec-based subsidiary of Volvo. Most of the new buses will go toward expansion of Greyhound Express and BoltBus, offering direct and discount intercity coach service.
The new buses start hitting the highways in May.