How To Select A Seat On A Greyhound Bus (A Not-So-Very Scientific Study)

Last summer, I was on a red-eye flight between Seattle and Baltimore, and I may or may not have been awake for a period of time longer than what would be considered “normal.” During the flight, with free pretzels and free beer in hand (thanks to a stewardess who thought me being an organ donor was the coolest thing ever), I started writing a little “study” about selecting seats on the Greyhound (or really any bus out there), and this is what I ended up with. Obviously, I never finished it, and quite honestly, I don’t think I ever will. …it’s probably for the best.

A Study in Seat Selection on Greyhound. (How to not have a seatmate)

Human psychology plays a big factor as to whether or not you will be stuck with a seatmate on a Greyhound bus. Much like the rush to board a plane when boarding is opened for the flight you’re going on, chaos reins supreme. However, there are some things you can do to avoid being stuck with a seatmate, but also if you are going to be stuck with a seatmate, how to get a polite, pleasant, but not psudeo-pedo seatmate.

Don’t Sit In The Back
This is a big no-no. Much like when we were kids and everyone wanted to sit in the back, this holds true today, though the clientele has certainly changed a bit. Every time I have ever been on a Greyhound bus, the driver makes a note to tell his passengers that “illegal drugs and alcohol are prohibited on this bus, including in the bathroom. The typical psyche is that by sitting in the back of the bus, those individuals interested in pursuing those “activities” (I use that word carefully) feel that they are out of sight and out of mind of the driver. Contrary to their belief, the bus driver is actually more likely to keep an eye on this area of the bus, so unless you want to smell like weed when you get off your bus or be under the constant glare of the driver for the entire bus ride, it’s best to just avoid this part of the bus. And beyond ALL of that, the lavatory is in the back of the bus. Do you really want to sit next to it? I didn’t think so.

Don’t Be The First One To Board
This may seem contrary to common sense, but there is some logic behind it. Especially if you have checked bags under the bus. Yes, you can pick any seat you want, but there is a downside to that. Almost always, people will pick their seat, sit next to the window, and then put their carry-on (backpack, purse, etc) on the aisle seat in an attempt to discourage a potential seatmate. This will work fine if you are riding on a less-popular route or are near the end of the run as is, but most times that is not the case. To your potential seatmate, a personal item on the aisle seat is an easier barrier to penetrate than an actual human.

Don’t Sit In The Very Front
Two words: Old people. 9 times out of ten, you will be able to find every elderly passenger will be found in the front two rows. More often than not, elderly passengers are taking the Greyhound merely for the convince of a “worry-free” (and typically cheaper) ride to their destination, so they don’t tend to be so keen on experience the whole Greyhound lifestyle. With all the shenanigans or whatever they want to call it behind them and out of their sight, it becomes once again an out of sight and out of mind situation.

Work In A Team
“Two minds are better than one.” It’s amazing what teamwork can accomplish in the battle of Greyhound seatmates. If you’re travelling with your girlfriend/boyfriend or friend or whatever, then of course you won’t have any problem sitting next to each other. You know each other, you have something to talk about, and the ride will go much much faster. However, if you’re travelling solo, making an ally can be a tremendous benefit. Maybe you see someone close to your age, or maybe there’s a cute girl you’re interested in talking to. Go for it. There’s no risk involved, because if you get denied or shot down, you have nothing to worry about since you don’t know each other in the first place and chances are you’ll never see each other again. But if you are successful in this mission, the benefits are once again tremendous, because if you have a really good vibe or conversation going, you’re not going to want that to end abruptly. So, there’s only one option. You’re just gonna have to sit together. Bummer, eh?


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