Passengers left stranded at Greyhound bus stop: ‘We came out and they were leaving us’
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM/Gray News) - It was a Thursday in September when seven Greyhound bus passengers said they were left stranded at a bus stop.
WTVM reports a third-party bus for Greyhound rolled into Columbus at its scheduled bus stop, but the 15-minute stop at a Sunoco gas station turned into a nightmare for those passengers.
“I was grabbing a couple of drinks and then was told we had three minutes,” passenger Hannah Wright said. “We came out and they were leaving us.”
W.D. Waters, a Vietnam veteran, was heading to Detroit to help his sister and her sick husband move. However, he was also part of the group that was left.
“They just kept saying no,” Waters said. “No, we could not get on the bus.”
The 72-year-old did not have his clothes or medication. Like Wright and other passengers left stranded that day, everything they had packed for their trip was on the bus headed to Atlanta without them.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do at that point,” Waters said. “I was scared. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know how I was going to get home.”
Four other stranded passengers were from out of the country and didn’t speak English. All of the stranded passengers were traveling to different destinations.
Urania Gutierrez said she purchased a $272 ticket from Greyhound to make the trip from Houston to New Jersey.
Officials said Greyhound had closed its previous bus stop in 2020 and moved it to the gas station. However, an attendant no longer was assigned to the site.
WTVM reports it contacted Greyhound that day and a worker ordered two large Ubers to transport the passengers to Atlanta. The seven passengers were able to leave Columbus after being stranded for four hours.
The manager at the Sunoco gas station said this group was small compared to as many as 14 people who had been left at the bus stop in the past. The manager said this has been an ongoing problem.
Kenny Williams, the owner of Destiny Dogs, a restaurant located inside the gas station, said he feeds the people stranded for free or drops them off at hotels if necessary.
Greyhound released a statement regarding the incident:
“As the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in North America, Greyhound partners with other bus companies across its network to provide service, as seen in Columbus. While the tickets were booked through Greyhound, the bus involved was not a Greyhound and the driver was not employed by Greyhound. We are currently in the process of exploring corrective action regarding the incident. We are happy, however, to report we were able to provide alternative trip arrangements for impacted customers.”
It currently remains unclear why the bus driver left the passengers in Columbus. However, the passengers said they ultimately made it to their final destinations while getting their luggage in Atlanta.
Columbus City Manager Isaiah Hugley said the city’s homeless prevention resource group, Home for Good, stayed with the passengers until they were able to be picked up. A public safety officer was also sent to the gas station.
Officials said if any passengers are stranded and do not have a place to go after being dropped off at the Greyhound bus stop, there are instructions at the gas station to call Home for Good.
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