America, don’t be a hypocrite

The corporations can compete with one another on the basic price, without trying to charge extra for what should be a normal service.

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“We want you to feel at home when you travel with us. So our buses have plenty of features to help you relax, like comfy leather seats and lots of legroom (plus free Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment and power outlets so you can still be an armchair surfer).”

So says Greyhound Bus, in its desire to sell you a bus ticket. It all sounds quite tempting. But unfortunately it isn’t true. Yes, they do have wi-fi on the bus, and yes you can use it for FREE. Except that free usage is quite limited, and after that you need to pay $3.99 minimum (and $6.99 if you’re traveling long distance).

To be fair, Greyhound’s seating has lots of legroom (by comparison with an airplane, which is getting more and more scrunched every year). But Greyhound’s sneaky policy on wi-fi is just another example of how American business tries to gouge its customers at every turn, and tells lies in order to do it.

I don’t want to pick on Greyhound. I rode from Los Angeles to Fresno recently, and it was perfectly decent. Yes, the bus fare has become more expensive, but everything in America has become more expensive. Prices rise by the day, and services are trimmed by the night. But NOTHING in America is free, even if it is advertised as being so. It’s just sad.

Yes, Greyhound, I know that you want to dig every last dollar from your customers. But it’s plain unfair (bordering on illegal) to shout that you have free Wi-Fi when you limit the use without telling people. You used to be an honorable business, but now you’re not.

Greyhound started out in 1914, but it has been bought and sold for years and has shrunk and expanded in its services. Presently it is owned by a British company that operates buses in both Canada and the U.S. True to the modern conception of corporate business, it attempts to keep its base price low but then tack on services for extra charges. This mode of doing business has become so common that one can almost imagine Greyhound selling you a bus ticket but then charging you an extra $4.99 for the gasoline to drive the bus. And remember when Ryan Air (a “no frills” airline) slapped on a fee to use the lavatory. Greyhound hasn’t charged extra for your suitcase, but just you wait—after all, the airlines all do that now.

If I had my druthers (but, of course, I won’t), I would the basic charge for any service to include all the normal services. Such as baggage, coffee and snacks, lavatory use, seating, etc., on a bus or airplane. No extra charges. The corporations can compete with one another on the basic price, without trying to charge extra for what should be a normal service. That might make the basic service somewhat higher, but at least you’ll know what you’re getting. No add-ons, thank you very much.

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