It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Greyhound Lines isn’t doing so well — that is unless of course, you’re sufficiently young that you had to Google what Greyhound was. Things are so dire at America’s foremost bus line that its UK-based owners FirstGroup have put the brand up for sale, according to a report published Thursday by Reuters.
“The issues at Greyhound have revolved around the impact of low-cost airlines coming into some of our markets and [the] relatively low oil price over the year, which in the US means more people get into their cars,” said Matthew Gregory, CEO of FirstGroup, to reporters on a call.
If nobody buys Greyhound and it’s forced to shutter its operations, that would mark the end of 105 years of helping people who don’t have a lot of cash get around this gigantic country of ours. It would be the end of a legacy that inspired songs like Simon and Garfunkel’s America and Chuck Berry’s Promised Land, and that would be sad.
Now, it’s not that Greyhound’s troubles are new or anything. It experienced several bitter strikes during the 1980s and 1990s with several fatalities stemming from incidents between striking drivers and strikebreakers and replacement workers. The company also declared bankruptcy on more than one occasion before being bought alongside parent company Laidlaw in 2007 by FirstGroup.
Since then, the company has attempted several rebrands, some additional services including a more premium bus service called BoltBus, but it hasn’t been enough to lure people away from the speed of air travel. Despite that, FirstGroup claims that 17 million people take the Greyhound annually to one of its 2,400 destinations.