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Bus passengers stranded in Vt. with no driver - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bus passengers stranded in Vt. with no driver

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The Greyhound bus sitting at Burlington International Airport Tuesday afternoon was supposed to be traveling to Montreal, but it was actually a bus to nowhere. And that was just the start of passengers' problems.

"Absolutely miserable," passenger Frances Green said.

"They don't have a driver so we have to wait again," passenger Natalia Bustamante said.

Bustamante was traveling from Boston back to school in Montreal. She had an exam Tuesday that she missed because of a Greyhound journey gone wrong.

Around 20 passengers left Boston just before midnight Monday, and then came the first snag. The bus arrived from Boston in White River Junction around 2 a.m. That's when the driver's shift was over. He left the passengers stranded on the running bus till around 10 a.m. Then another bus arrived and brought those people to Burlington.

"Nobody said anything," Bustamante said. "We were just waiting for someone to show up."

When the riders got to Burlington around noon Tuesday, yet another big delay-- they were told there was no driver available. They'd have to wait three hours to finish the trip to Montreal.

"It's Greyhound," Green said. "This is supposed to be a reputable company. What's going on here?"

The sign at the Greyhound counter inside the airport said be back in 30 minutes, but passengers say it was up for much longer than that, and the customer service number they were given just played music for hours.

A tense situation brought everyone to their breaking points, even representative Carol Anderson at the Greyhound counter.

"Here's the deal, if anyone has anymore issues I can make it so no one can get on the bus," Anderson told passengers. "I'm doing all I can to make sure you get on the 3:30 bus."

Burlington Police were called to the scene of angry people, but things calmed down quickly. Airport officials stepped in to try to help.

"People expect to be home. One had to be home at 6. One had a flight to catch. We have to have dependable transportation and that's one thing we expect Greyhound to provide if they're going to be here," said Gene Richards of the Burlington International Airport.

Officials said the experience was unacceptable and called Premier Coach in to pick up the passengers with a plan to charge Greyhound.

"I rarely lose money so we'll do everything to recover our money," Richards said.

But Greyhound actually got a bus to the terminal before Premier could. So passengers brave enough to try again got on board for Montreal.

Greyhound called WCAX News at about 5 p.m. and said the computer system that allows the company to track and schedule drivers went down, but this is the only route impacted by the outage. It's still unclear passengers will get their money back; Greyhound said it would work with customers on a case-by-case basis.

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