Attention Greyhound. This failing business is not called for.

It used to be, every time I came up with a wicked evil plot to get me on the US side of the border, the Canadian version of the Greyhound service–website, customer service line, occasionally the station itself–would tend to throw a small fit. Or an extremely large one, depending on the phase of the moon. I had thought, on my last trip down there, we’d managed to convince it that it wants to sort itself out once and for all. Clearly, I was categorically wrong.

It actually started before I went down to Rochester this last time–Jessica had come up for my birthday, and so I could propose to her. And, in attempting to organize such an event, or rather in the attempt at its execution, it was the US arm of Greyhound’s turn to successfully fall over sideways. They weren’t exactly experts at organization to begin with, as evidenced by the fact none of them ever seemed to actually have the foggiest idea what the guy next to him was doing. Because of that, she ended up missing by an hour the connection she was supposed to catch to leave Toronto. That was apparently a warning shot.

We’re having a sort of get-together thinggy, as we almost always do, for Canadian thanksgiving. The family shows up at mom’s and doesn’t leave until at least half of us can’t move. Yesterday was mostly spent trying to invent a way of getting Jess up here so she could join us, now that we know she’s got the room to do it. That was also when we stumbled across the company’s apparent constant state of confusion.

Let me throw a little background up here for the sake of your sanity. During the summer, they have two possible ways you can get up here from Rochester, usually. You can either go through Buffalo and then Toronto–the usual way, or they occasionally run a shorter route that goes through Syracuse. Usually by now, the Syracuse route is canceled and you’re just left with the Buffalo route. That route does take roughly twice as long, but it’s usually almost always running, so we tend to lean more towards that one for obvious reasons.

Now, back to yesterday being what it was. I’d intended to look it up and throw the money at a bus ticket while she was at work. So I poked around the site–which, just for the record, is somehow even more of a disorganized cluster fuck than it used to be, and came up with a single solitary bus route. That being the route through Syracuse. Now, me being as observant as I sometimes am, that sets off at least one alarm in the brain–don’t tell me we’re going to have to do this dance again. So I punched up the Canadian answer to Greyhound’s website, ran the trip as if I was going to book it–of course, it won’t let me purchase it on the Canadian side but at this point, I don’t need it to. And wouldn’t you know, the various Buffalo routes I expected to see on the US site are listed right there before my very eyes–er, ears. And no Syracuse route. Well now, isn’t this just peachy.

So clearly, one of the two sites is lying to me. I call up the US number for the line down there, and have a very informative conversation with their customer service monkey. And by informative, I mean they see exactly what I see on their website and know pretty much exactly what I know re: why they’re seeing it. Yeah, colour me educated. So at this point, I’ve got two different versions of the same company’s info telling me two different things, and no actual way to smash the two of them together and form some kind of coherent idea as to what the options for this thing actually are. So instead, we created our own.

Jess ended up buying the ticket to come up through Syracuse, simply because it was there. And because I have a sneaking suspicion doing anything different would require a trip in person to the station–and while it’s not much in the way of cab fare, it’s enough when you’re going to be doing it again in a week anyway. Either the route’s running, and she’ll get here a hell of a lot earlier than usual–which means she can be back here and somewhat rested by mid-afternoon for the first time since the first trip she took up here, or she’ll get to drop kick a customer service monkey in person, and I’ll get to drop kick one over the phone, until such time as her ticket ends up changed to reflect a route that *is* running, at no cost, and she’ll get here no later–well, minus Greyhound’s repeating its earlier failure–than she usually does. She does have a ticket, at either case. the question of for which bus, well, we’ll sort that out when it gets around to being time.

In the meantime, a small little tiny note to Greyhound. Please, for the love of everything relatively sane, stop with the failing. Now-ish. I’d appreciate it immensely.

I am renaming August to the month of Broken.

The month is just over half over, and already things have gone and decided breaking is the thing to do. It started last week, with the near breaking of my plans to return home this past weekend–plans that were changed for other reasons, which will be elabourated on once the appropriate people have been properly hunted, nailed to the nearest wall, and my time and effort in aranging things is appropriately compensated–in blood, if necessary.

Then, earlier this week, the old blogging stomping grounds of LiveJournal, where I still occasionally show up mostly because I’ve yet to convert all the cool people away from it to much more fun things, decided it would be fun to break my LJ RSS hack. More specificly, one of their upgrades apparently broke their own authentication mechanism. That only ended up being fixed an hour ago–and not, laughably enough, before several people who were experiencing similar problems re: their RSS feeds had decided to bring it up quite blatantly in the dev community–I should really consider watching that community, now that I think about it.

Last night capped off the reason for renaming the month of August to the month of Broken. We needed to get laundry done. As in, like, ASAFP. Which turned out to be at just about midnight last night–hey, we never claimed to keep a normal schedule. That was around the exact same time we figured out that hey, this building’s supposed to have two working washers and two working dryers. This building has one of each. And the broken ones are broken in such a way that by the time we figure out they’re broken, we’ve wasted a dollar in each. Those are, to my knowledge anyway, still broken–we’re presently air-drying the affected articles of clothing. Sadly, my name isn’t on the lease here so I don’t get to personally scream in some poor maintenance bastard’s ear about it, but Jess will undoubtedly take amazing amounts of pleasure in doing exactly that just as soon as she can find 30 seconds to breathe.

Well into the third week of August, and we’ve already had plenty of things go breaky smash on a technical and non-technical front–an average of one per week at this rate. I’m officially renaming the month of August to the month of Broken. Now, to go whip something real quick up to make it official on this here website.

The excitement continues. Greyhound may lock out its Canadian drivers.

Just when you thought it was safe to jump across the border, someone up there’s pointing and laughing. Apparently, Ottawa’s local transit service isn’t the only one who sees a shutdown as the surest path to a contract dispute resolution. Greyhound Canada, also known as those people who will be meeting me in Toronto in order to get me the rest of the way home, is threatening to lock out its drivers on thursday. Assuming I can beat an answer out of people, and that answer is one I like, I’m due to return to the right side of the border on sunday. Houston, we have a problem.

As it stands now, provided they do actually end up locking out, I might be able to get as far as Toronto on the ticket I just purchased. As for getting me past Toronto? Well, that may require some degree of creativity.

Greyhound, you and I have been getting along famously this trip–I didn’t even have to fight with you over the purchase of my ticket for a bloody change. You do not want to start in with this crap now. Really, you don’t. So by all means, don’t. That would be awesome.

Also: What is it with bus services out of Ontario? OC Transpo was talking not too long ago about a lockout at the next contract negotiation, too. Really? Did we learn nothing from the 08-09 bus strike? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Update: Yeah, I thought so. Greyhound, if this happens, please find yourself a nice big fire and die in it. Thanks.

In which Greyhound fails at life. Again.

So. Some folks already know, and others are about to. Jessica’s presently on her way up here for a week. She left at 20 minutes to 2 this morning, intent on catching a 6:30 connection. There weren’t enough warm bodies going to toronto, so they had to send another bus. That other bus was supposed to be right behind them. They waited in Buffalo until pretty close to 5:00 or so before finally crossing the border. Which, escentially, means no 6:30 connection for Jessica. Fortunately, that doesn’t put too bad a dent in our plans–we can just leave to pick her up 2 hours later. But now, she’s stuck catching a 9:30 bus to Ottawa from Toronto, which means by the time she gets here, she’ll have been on the go for nearly 16 hours. And that’s assuming we come directly here. Factoring in the fact she’s been awake since yesterday morning, and I probably wouldn’t want to be her body right now. Hopefully, the trip she’s taking at 9:30 doesn’t break. In the meantime, Greyhound, please stop failing. Thanks.

At the end of the day, Greyhound only mildly pisses me off.

After Wednesday’s rather lengthy song and dance that got me absofuckinglutely nowhere that would be considered anywhere near productive, I pretty much prepared myself this morning for an impressive round or two of fisticuffs over the whole bus ticket incident. But when I got to the station, for the first time *evar*, there was actually no need to bloody anyone’s nose. I walked in, paid for the ticket, got the ticket, promptly wtfed at their apparent need to swing by the Buffalow airport on the return trip only, and walked out. And then proceeded to nearly give Jessica (samari76) a heart attack, but that’s just my style. So as it stands right at this particular moment, barring any future complications between now and the said date at the said time, t minus 7 days, 3.5 hours until go time. No, I’m not counting down at all. Honest. Greyhound, you aren’t quite the epic failure you make yourself out to be. You’re just heading that way.

My one and only bief with Greyhound. Bitching and moaning ahead.

Surprisingly enough, it’s not to do with accessibility. It may or may not have anything to do specificly with customer service. But it’s largely to do with their technological issues, of which they have a shitload. One that’s been hanging around on the long term since at the very least my first attempt at getting myself from here to there is their decided inability to do, like, anything while using the Canadian version of their website. Specificly, when it comes to purchasing tickets. Up until my second attempt to do so, they decided it would be real fun to show me exactly how very broken their purchasing system actually was. Only at that point, it was broken from both my end and theirs. For example, you could see half of your trip (the half *leaving* the Ottawa terminal), but you couldn’t see the return. But, if you went to the US version of same company’s website, you could easily see both sides of your round trip. You just couldn’t pay for them with a Canadian creditcard.

I was under the mistaken impression earlier this afternoon that such malfunctions had been corrected. I could schedule both ends of the round trip, and could even go so far as to see how much such a trip would cost me. I didn’t want to try purchasing it at that point, though, since Jessica (samari76) didn’t yet know what she could take off from work. Well, we found out today she does in fact have at least some of the time I’ll be there off from work, so I thought I’d go ahead and pay for the ticket. Not quite.

As said, I could schedule the trip, I could see how much it cost me, and it even gave me their little disclaimer about how tickets won’t be honoured for anything other than the date they were purchased for without a $15 admin fee to change said date. I gave ’em my creditcard number, and it all appeared to be halfway decent. Until I went to actually submit the purchase. Then their ever so helpful “we encountered a problem and your purchase could not be completed” error message came up. Well crap on a goddamn cracker. I thought we had this conversation already, Greyhound. Honestly.

I called their local office, thinking maybe I could bypass the online system altogether and go through that way. Way to oversimplify things, James. They tell me to either call their main line, or take a run into the station and pick it up that way. By this point, my usually not hard to piss off self was getting just a tiny bit pissed off. I decided, since I was here, to go ahead and call the main number… worst they could say was no, right? Wrong. Instead, they blamed my creditcard for not being able to purchase the ticket, saying they didn’t get the authorization from said card. Say fucking what now? After dumping copious amounts of my tax time earned money on my card, it’s *still* declined? I don’t fucking think so.

I called up Visa, and by this point I’m about ready to tear someone a new asshole. Twice. They tell me the charge *did* go through, and there’s an authorization code here to back that up. So now it’s on. Somebody’s blowing smoke up my ass, and I have a sneaking suspicion (no idea where it came from) that it’s a Greyhound Canada employee. I called their customer service number, and pretty much got another clueless wonder. This one, at least, had the brains to confirm they hadn’t even processed my ticket order. She told me the charges I was told were there should be cleared inside of 24 hours. I’ll believe that when I see it. In the meantime, I still have no bus ticket, and may or may not have been charged for one. Sorry, greyhound. You just screwed up huge.

I thought about just saying fuck it and flying to Rochester. Only one problem. West Jet doesn’t fly there, and Air Canada wants upwards of $500 minimum to fly there. I’ll say this much though. If Greyhound can’t get its shit together and soon, I’m halfway tempted to pony up the extra cashola and book a flight. It might be more expensive, but at least I’ll get there without needing to drop kick half a dozen people first.

Update: I have a ride to the station on Friday. Here’s hoping I actually get to come back with a bus ticket.