An enterprising University of Arizona academic, who studies such neat things as E.coli bacteria, airborne viruses, germs and nasty microscopic bugs of all shapes and sizes, recently went on the road in search of the ‘safest’ forms of public transportation.
The ‘prof’ examined trains, planes, buses and subways. And, not surprisingly, good old Greyhound brought up the rear. In fact, it was the public restrooms on board the buses that activated the Arizona academic’s agita. According to reports, Greyhound bus restrooms are easily the most disease-laden areas to be found on any form of mass public transportation. Fecal matter, E.coli bacteria and God knows what else were discovered alongside the usual assortment of discarded newspapers, pornographic magazines and last week’s batch of "Measuring Up" blog entries.
For Greyhound, which is in the midst of a significant image and reputation overhaul (subscription required), the crappy news had to have been about as welcomed as the death of Dustin Hoffman’s Ratzo Rizzo character on one of their buses in the 1969 classic "Midnight Cowboy."
So, how well did Greyhound handle the crisis? Their first instinct was to throw the sanitation subcontractor under the bus. The company issued a statement saying it was devoted to providing a superior experience, first-class modes of transit, etc. They said their sanitation subcontractor routinely inspected the lavatories of each and every bus on a daily basis. But, based upon the survey results, something’s rotten in Denmark, not to mention Detroit, Denver, Dubuque and wherever else Greyhound buses frequent.
Just once I’d like to see a corporation step up to the plate (or to the toilet in this case) and admit fault.
In the interests of disclosure, I’d never consider riding a Greyhound bus anywhere, but my kids, or their friends, might. Until I hear that Greyhound has solved its fecal faux pas, however, I’ll be advising one and all not to ‘go Greyhound.’ That is, unless they decide to "leave the going" at some safer, much cleaner rest stop along the way.