Port Authority – Purgatory

Over the May 10th weekend, my sister in Washington DC had her graduation! I know, my baby sister is officially finished!! But this blog isn’t about that. It’s not even about my 18 hour bus ride to Washington DC from Toronto. This blog is about what happened when I got to Port Authority in New York City.

After about 14 hours, cooped up on a Trail-something or other bus – which made me so irritated because the Megabus wouldn’t let me board with a Greyhound ticket but they put us on this other bus (not a hound) with the most uncomfortable seats known to man. By the time I got off my tailbone was throbbing and sore. We arrived at Port Authority about 6:45am on the Friday morning and aside from a bladder on the point of bursting, a sore tailbone and cramped legs–I was fine.  For those of you who don’t know what Port Authority is, its the major bus terminal in NYC. It has two buildings. Normally one side has arrivals and local buses and the other sides have depatures. At least that was what I thought.

I had an hour between my bus arriving that I would have to wait for the departure of my bus to DC. Anyways, I rushed to the bathroom–did the Pee-pee dance in a long line for ladies until I could finally go. After that I quickly fixed my hair, washed my hands and flashed cold water on my face. I patted it dry with a towel from my purse then grabbed all my bags and crap.

Now the trouble begins. Since it was about 6:45 in the morning, there were no workers in Port Authority. Aside from a random driver, cleaning staff and 2 homeless shelter outreach workers,  I was left to wander Port Authority (both buildings) like a homeless person with my three giant bags and purse.  A man, slurrying his words must have seen I was completely lost, tried helping but he kept telling me something was closed. Did I mention he spoke very horrid English and was sitting on the dirty floor by a departure gate that wasn’t mine?

I muttered thanks to him even I was sure he didn’t understand, and wandered up an escalator, across the promenade upstairs, down another escalator and made a right turn. The corridor I turned into was desolate so I figured that wasn’t the right way. I went back up the escalator, across the promenade I’d crossed mere minutes before and back down the escalator where the drunk guy was still, lounging heavily into the wall. He kept hollering “they closed!” after me while I turned, walking under the escalator, now dragging my massive gym back on the ground because my arms felt as if they were falling off.  This time, I saw a gate with a Canadian Flag and asked the man there taking tickets from a bunch of French students where the gate to Washington DC was.  I was so upset when he told me. To go back up the escalator, walk across the promenade, down the same set of escalators I’d gone down before but this time to go left and down another set of escalators.

I finally found my gate, twenty minutes before the bus was due to depart. Luckily I had Boarding #1 on my ticket and got to get ont he bus first but I was exhausted and sore. All this could have been avoided if they weren’t too cheap to hire at least a few people to man the information booths overnight or earlier in the morning. If they aren’t going to do that they should shut down the station so people don’t show up and left to wander the place like some kind of lost spirit.

I find it terribly inconvenient the driver letting you off has no idea where you’re supposed to go next and you’re expected to find one gate in over 300 different gates in two different buildings.  There was no phone number to call and even after I did call customer service for Greyhound I couldn’t get a hold of someone to talk to and the damn automated voice thing kept giving me the run around.

Save yourself the hassel, stay away from Port Authority after hours. When you plan your trip, make sure you get through Port Authority before dark because once night hits, that place becomes a black hole and purgatory.

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