Greyhound is Back in Akron, But Finding Where it Goes From There Wasn’t Easy or Convenient

Back in early April I wrote a post about how Greyhound Bus Lines had suspended service to Akron during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I decided last week to check if Greyhound had reinstated its Akron service.

It has but I was unable to determine when that occurred. A Google search for news stories about Greyhound reinstating suspended routes came up largely empty.

Unlike Amtrak and the airlines, the intercity bus industry gets little news attention in the United States.

I went to Greyhound’s website where my experience in finding out information about service to Akron was mixed.

The site, unlike Amtrak and the major airlines, lacks a page containing news releases or service advisories. In fact there is virtually little information about the company at all.

I found no route map or route timetables. If you are curious as to what cities Greyhound directly links from Akron you have to literally plug in various city pairs.

It took some digging to piece together a general idea of where Greyhound can take you from Akron without having having to make a transfer.

I started by checking the obvious cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati and Chicago.

Greyhound has direct bus service to all of those places plus Youngstown; Canton; Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; Washington; Baltimore and a handful of other cities and towns in Ohio and surrounding states.

But there are no direct buses to Detroit, New York or Indianapolis. You can get to those cities but must transfer en route.

Taking Greyhound service out of Akron is not quite as inconvenient as taking Amtrak from Cleveland. Buses leave Akron throughout the day, but some destinations require boarding or disembarking in Akron in the middle of the night.

For example, there is just one bus each way per day between Akron and Pittsburgh. It arrives in Akron from Pittsburgh at 2:55 a.m. and departs for the burgh at 11:15 p.m.

Traveling from Akron to Chicago makes for a long day. One bus leaves at 3:05 a.m. and reaches Chicago at 12:10 p.m. traveling via Cleveland, Toledo and South Bend, Indiana.

Another bus leaves at a more reasonable 12:10 p.m. but takes a roundabout path through Columbus, Marysville, Lima, Van Wert, Fort Wayne and South Bend before reaching Chicago at 9:25 p.m.

There are two buses a day to Columbus, one of which continues to Cincinnati. The route to Columbus goes west from Akron on Interstate 76 and picks up I-71 near Lodi.

I never determined where the three buses that leave Akron for Canton wind up. One bus goes as far as Charleston, West Virginia; while another goes at least as far as Athens, Ohio.

Both routes might extend beyond those cities but it would take a lot of trial and error to find out where they go.

The Akron-Pittsburgh service is part of a Chicago-Washington route. Just like Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, Northeast Ohio is served in the wee hours.

I could have more easily learned that if there had been an online timetable easily found on the Greyhound website.

There was a time when transportation companies printed and regularly distributed timetables for their routes.

The airline industry gave up on timetables more than two decades ago although Southwest Airlines was holdout for awhile.

Amtrak published its last system timetable in 2016, a copy of which I keep handy on my desk for reference because the carrier’s schedules haven’t changed much since then.

It subsequently did away with printed route timetables and route guides and during the pandemic stopped making route timetables available online.

It remains to be seen if this is temporary or permanent. The official reason given for dropping the online timetables is because services changed and continue to change during the pandemic as trains are suspended, reinstated and, who knows, suspended again or see their frequency of operation reduced.

The transportation industry appears to think that all most people care about is whether it is possible to go from point A to point B on the plane, train or bus.

You can find that out by typing into a box your point of origin and typing into another box your destination. If the carrier can get you there then the pertinent information is shown.

Carriers seem increasingly less interested in giving the public a comprehensive view of where they go and how they get there.

I noticed that on the Greyhound site if you want more detailed information about your route, including all of the intermediate stops, you need to click on a link to find it.

Transportation is in and will continue to be in a state of flux so long as the pandemic continues to depress demand and planes, trains and buses operate at lower levels than was the case in early March before the pandemic took hold.

Yet I can’t help but wonder if the pastime of some transportation enthusiasts of perusing timetables and taking “mind trips” is becoming yet another thing of the past.

I might have to be content to practice this with old timetables that show where you used to be able to fly or take a train.

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