The Follow-Up: Bolt Bus, Where Are You?
We were bouncing in our chairs last month when Greyhound's Bolt Bus kicked off service from D.C. to NYC with fares starting at $1. When I rode the bus on its first outing, there were few hassles, though on the return, the bus arrived late for the pick-up. Our group of busgoers wondered if it would ever come, especially since there was no Bolt booth or signage. Did it already go bankrupt?
Turns out, I was lucky -- my bus showed up. Since those early days, we have received a handful reports of MIA buses, delays and other types of confusion. For example, a traveler named Ted described his experience in another Travel Log blog item. Mainly, he arrived at 5 p.m. for the 5:30 bus. The New Eastern (Chinatown) bus came and went, but no Bolt in sight. Eventually, Ted doled out another $20 to take the 6:30 Chinatown bus. His conclusion: "Bolt is a BUST!!!"
Ted, my friend, you are not alone.
When I called Bolt spokesman Dustin Clark in Dallas for an explanation yesterday, he was near-speechless. "It's the first I have heard of it," he said. Then his spoke-spin kicked in: "Our customer philosophy is to be very proactive with our customers." He then hung up to investigate.
In a return call, he told me every scheduled bus has departed as planned. His theory: The travelers went to the wrong location. Since we didn't LoJack the bus riders, we can't argue back.
Before our phone call, in fact, Bolt sent an e-mail to future riders. It admitted its flaws as a new start-up and said it was working on improving. It also issued clearer directions for the various departure points:
"New York -- 33rd and Seventh (service to Washington D.C.), at the northeast corner of the intersection. The bus will stop in the designated bus stop area on 33rd Street in front of a Sbarro's Italian restaurant. (Honestly . . . we don't like this location because it is crowded and are talking with the city about moving somewhere more appropriate ... we'll keep you posted)
New York -- Sixth and Canal (service to Washington D.C.), at the northeast corner of the intersection a little north on Sixth. Technically, the location is on Sixth between Canal and Grand. The pickup point is near a fenced-in basketball court.
"Washington -- 11th and G -- at the southwest corner of the intersection right in front of the Metro Center subway entrance. The primary landmark (other than the Metro) is a bunch of newspaper dispensers (10+) and across the street is a Suntrust bank. Our bus will use the designated bus stop."
Now people, you have no excuse -- unless the drivers weren't given these directions.
Anyone out there take Bolt yet? Do share.
By Andrea Sachs |
April 11, 2008; 6:35 AM ET
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