Have now moved on to Dallas – the HQ of our Greyhound business – and where it is over 100degF.
Here Greyhound is facing its last big busy weekend of the summer and all efforts are concentrated on delivering a high level of service with duplicates to carry the huge numbers of passengers booked and expected to travel.
Over many corridors Greyhound competes very effectively against domestic air travel. Whilst many US citizens use planes the way we use buses, the increased journey times due to increased security means that the coach can match the plane city centre to city centre over certain distances.
Greyhound of course has a long and distinguished history. Formed in 1914 it has survived several changes of ownership and no longer is involved in flying planes, aircraft leasing, cruise ships, bus manufacture or meat packing. Whilst the network is not as extensive as it once was, the romance of long distance coaching is still evident. The company has a very deep interest and commitment to its own history. Items from its past decorate its locations and there is a fully-fledged Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing Minnesota.
The modern Greyhound is enjoying a renaissance and there is a new livery and brand. $60m has been spent upgrading the facilities and equipment. There is huge demand from its services – in many cases the opportunity to travel between cities at cheap prices has generated significant new traffic. And Greyhound has a sister operation, Boltbus, which relies on on-line bookings but provides on-board power and wifi for the new generation of travellers.
If there has been one thing which has impressed me this week it has been the incredible 'family' atmosphere of the business which is amazing considering it employs thousands across the whole of the USA and Canada. There are many long-serving employees and there is no doubt that it is their experience which helps deliver a reliable, well-planned and safe operation despite the logistical challenges of running hundreds of miles away from base on journeys which sometimes take over a day to get there!
Here we are at the Dallas Maintenance Facility under a billboard proclaiming the new Greyhound brand against the impressive skyline of this Texas city.