If You Ever Want to Know How America’s Poor are Treated, Take a Greyhound Bus

I wrote this while waiting five hours for a bus to take me 50 minutes down the highway.

Sharonda Harris-Marshall

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Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

This is a little different from what I usually write about, but because intersectionality is totally a thing, I’m gonna use this platform I currently have to discuss issues of class inequality.

I am not poor. I’m broke. There’s a huge difference. Certain circumstances led me to be broke. But I’m not here to gather sympathy for my circumstance because you probably already give me the benefit of the doubt without you knowing it. I’m here to talk about a company that exploits less wealthy people and treats them like children because one day you may need to buy a Greyhound ticket to attend your brother’s funeral.

I’m still carless after my accident, but I needed to head back to Nebraska to teach. Being carless doesn’t scare me. I lived eight years in Los Angeles without one. But being carless in the snow will be new to me. But I’m up to the challenge because I love my teaching job that much.

Originally, I was going to take a Megabus to New Orleans and then take an Amtrak to Nebraska, but the tickets I needed sold out. Plus, Amtrak hasn’t served Mobile since Hurricane Katrina and Alabama Governor Ivey thinks Mobile isn’t worth the trouble. But I digress. I sweet-talked my way into a travel voucher by calling about my unused ticket canceled by Hurricane Michael. I paid a difference of $27 to travel the 1000 miles to Nebraska.

I’ve taken Greyhound several times before, and it feels like it gets worse every time. But because the company has a virtual monopoly on interstate travel — especially if you have to travel from one town with bad public transportation to another — you may not have a choice outside of renting a car. And if you don’t drive at all, like several elderly or disabled persons don’t, you got Greyhound and Greyhound. I should note before diving in that there are several middle-class travelers like me, who find themselves using Greyhound because it was their only feasible option and other options are absurdly expensive. Usually, these are solo travelers that keep to themselves. Because paying $1600 to fly coach into a regional airport is also…

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Sharonda Harris-Marshall

is a filmmaker, photographer, and digital media artist living a stereotypical artist life. She could have been a doctor or a scientist, but here we are.