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Bus passengers stranded by winter weather

February 12, 2008 3:24:31 PM PST
Cold and icy weather across Illinois left hundreds of Greyhound bus passengers stranded until Tuesday morning.

It was a long night and morning for busloads of Greyhound passengers in Chicago. Some people were stranded for more than 24 hours. But travel is now getting back to normal. However, that wasn't the case earlier when officials cancelled routes because of weather, leaving hundreds of passengers in the lurch.

Early Tuesday morning, there were about 250-300 passengers stranded at the downtown Greyhound station, 630 W. Harrison, including many families. By 11 a.m. that number was down to about 50. The buses started rolling about 9 a.m.

If you have been to the Greyhound bus terminal in downtown Chicago, you know there is not a whole lot of space to move around. That made for a difficult and frustrating night. It looked like a terminal at O'Hare Airport during a snowstorm. Weary passengers spent the night with no choice but to try and sleep on the floor.

Families with restless children had little room to spread out. And there was no place to walk unless it was in a circle. Customers say they haven't been given much information.

John Lagore was trying to get home to Dallas.

"They don't let you know anything. Absolutely nothing. It could take up to two days. They give you the worst case scenario. It could take up to two days. I don't really want to hear two days, you know? Come on. I'm trying to get to work," said Lagore.

"I wonder why they ain't telling us nothing. I ain't see a supervisor or nothing until the news showed up. He pops up in five seconds. He ain't come and told me nothing," said TJ Johnson.

By 6 a.m., buses started to arrive, and they filled up quickly. Bathrooms were overcrowded and vending machines running low.

Workers from the City Department of Human Services were called in to check up on passengers as they waited.

"I feel like I have been a hostage here. It's too cold to go outside. I just want to get to my girlfriend over in Texas. You know, I have been here too long," said Curtis Reed, Greyhound customer.

Darryl Keaton was trying to get home to his father in Arkansas.

"I got here at 4:20 yesterday evening. It's been almost what, 16, 17 hours?" Keaton said. "It has been bad. Horrible."

Monday, Greyhound offered to send stranded passengers back home at no cost. A spokesman, who talked to ABC7 via telephone from Greyhound headquarters in Dallas, says weather is to blame for so many cancellations.

"It's not safe to travel. We would rather our customers be safe and warm in our terminals and not out on the roads," said Dustin Clark, Greyhound spokesman.

The spokesperson also says that refunds will be considered on an individual basis. There were a total of about 40 cancellations. Many of those were routes going from Chicago to St. Louis. Now that the roads are much better down state, the buses are back up and running. Greyhound is not expecting any more cancellations Tuesday.


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