Monday, February 1, 2010

Reprehensible behavior from a monopoly

Misbehavior stemming from lack of competition is apparently not unique to the IT industry.

I saw this post today, and couldn't believe it. And then a bit of additional research shows this is not unique -- a number of people complained about actions on the part of Greyhound that would never be tolerated in market where there is true competition.

Forcing a grandmother to wait out in cold, while there's still snow on the ground, may not be in violation of the letter of the law, but it is certainly in violation of the basic tenets of human decency, and the management at the Memphis location showed they have none.

Its been over ten years since I've ridden a Greyhound (or any other long-haul bus for that matter), and after reading this, I am unlikely to ride another Greyhound again. Instead I'll stick to air transport where lively competition means that even the worst airlines understand that they have to at least pretend to care about their customers.

If you're reading this and thinking about taking a Greyhound somewhere, don't.

While there may not be much competition for Greyhound for long-haul ground travel, there is at least some. And there is always air transport for those able to use it.

I'll be interested to hear if Greyhound corporate does anything to fix the problems they obviously have. A good start would be firing most or all of the staff at their Memphis location (especially the management and security guard in question) and refunding the tickets of each of the passengers who were stuck there.

2 comments:

ajxn said...

You have to understand that capitalism and commercial companies have absolute no interest in serving poor and weak people, that would just be a cost. It is not nesseserily a bad thing, but you have to remember that.

So to protect poor and weak people, you need another system for that. Like a customer ombudsman that have some power to help pore/small people so the passanger would be refunded with a small fine on top. To do that, you need a better protection in the law for private customers.

Firing the staff at the station is not a good sollution either, as they probably just followed instructions, that they had to follow. If not, they would had been fired for that. That would then been a loos-loos situation, and next grandmam would still be left out in the cold, as the rules would not have been changed.

You should fire the people who made the instructions, or personal fines to the coard of Greyhound (no, not some milion $, just lik $20 000 or so). THEN you would see results quite quickly.

Yes, Greyhound need to have some competition. Train could be that. But taking airlines is prob. not possible for those that uses Greyhound.

Garrett D'Amore said...

See, I disagree with the idea that a "law" or the government is required to fix this -- *if* we had a true competitive market in here, it wouldn't have been a problem.

Remember that Greyhound's customers are *not* the wealthy or even upper middle class (for the most part). The bulk of their fares come from folks who simply can't afford airfare.

And yes, in this case, the people in the station failed to pass the basic test of human decency. As such, they should have been fired. I do not believe that executive management at Greyhound decided to put this grandmother out in the snow. Rather it was someone in charge at the bus station.

Furthermore, if that was the order, the people in charge should have questioned it. Again, basic human decency. If they tried to do that and were forced by management to do otherwise, then they should already have left - I know I would not work for a company or a manager that treated its customers so coldly.