Timothy is a frequent Greyhound bus rider who has made many cross-country bus trips in the last 10 years. He currently resides in Montana.
One of the few perks of traveling via Greyhound bus is the free Wifi that is offered. So if you get on your bus and settle in and find that the Wi-Fi isn't working it can be very frustrating.
Trust me, I've been in that situation many times on my Greyhound travels and it still gets me pretty aggravated every time. But these days at least I have a better understanding of how Greyhound, and it's free wifi, works so it's a little easier to deal with.
If you are on a bus and you can't get the Wi-fi to work allow me to break the issue down for you.
Why You Can't Get The WiFi to Work
The truth is, (and you aren't going to like this), that sometimes the Wifi works on the Greyhound bus and sometimes it doesn't. Is there a reason for this sporadic and spotty internet service? I'm sure there is, but I've never been able to get anyone from Greyhound to explain it to me.
The driver definitely won't. One of the worse things you can do is question your Greyhound bus driver about the lack of Wi-Fi. In fact, short of smoking in the bathroom, or sitting right behind the driver and talking loudly on your phone, it's probably the quickest way to get on a driver's bad side.
Greyhound drivers get hassled about the wifi on an almost daily basis. And from the responses I've heard drivers give I'm not sure many of them know the reason it doesn't always work either.
I've heard a couple of them mention dead zones, which makes sense, since the wifi has to come from somewhere. I imagine it's kind of like cellphone reception, there are just some places where the towers, or satellites, or whatever don't reach.
This explains why the Wi-Fi is spotty in some very rural areas you might travel through on Greyhound. But I've also seen the Wifi go out in the middle of cities and in very urban areas.
In these cases I imagine it might have something to do with the onboard router on the bus. The router receives the internet signal and then broadcasts it to the passengers on the bus. If this router is malfunctioning then guess what: No wifi!
The good news is that if it is the onboard router then the problem should be able to be solved rather easily. Someone just has to reboot, or replace the router. But then again this is Greyhound and I've seen it take them several hours just to fix a headlight issue so you never know.
I would think that checking the Wifi would be part of the scheduled maintenance that the buses undergo after so many miles but that's just a guess. I have no hard evidence to support this theory.
You might find that after a maintenance stop at a station the wifi is suddenly working again. I think I had this happen before but I'm not 100% sure. I ride the Greyhound bus a lot and it's hard to remember everything that happens. Especially with all the crazy stuff that goes on lol.
What You Can Do About the Lack of Wifi
The short answer would be: Nothing.
You can sit in your seat and stew over the lack of Wifi and swear to never ride Greyhound again. But as far as anything practical you can do to get the Wi-Fi up and running there aren't really any options.
It's just one of those things you have to deal with when you are riding the Hound. The only thing I might even suggest that might have any results is to wait till the bus pulls into a station and then tell the driver about the wifi situation.
If it is an issue with the router on the bus then maybe she can have someone take a look at it while the bus is being serviced. But definitely wait until the bus is parked at the station. Remember what we talked about earlier about bothering the bus driver.
I know this isn't the answer you were hoping for but, unfortunately, it's the only one I have. After years of riding the Greyhound bus and more cross country trips than I can count, I still yet have to find a sure solution to the wifi problem. Sometimes you get the 'Net, sometimes you don't.
However, I have found ways to cope with the lack of internet when I'm travelling on Greyhound. I've learned to prepare in advance for those times when I can't access the world wide web. One thing I do now before every Greyhound bus trip is that I download some TV shows and/or movies to my phone or tablet to watch. Once they are on my device I can watch them without internet access.
I also make it a point to bring a book along with me when I ride Greyhound. I know this is a little old school for some of you younger readers but it works. Yes, they still sell books made out of paper, and they are pretty cheap too. And they fit easily in your carry-on bag. However, if this tip feels too 1992 for you, you can always download books to your phone, tablet, or Kindle.
And finally there is always music. I try and download a ton of songs to my devices before any long trip. That way, even if there is no wifi on the bus, I can still sit back with my headphones on, stare out the window, and enjoy my tunes.
Basically, I try to find a way to do all the things I would be using the wifi for without having to actually use the wifi. It really makes a difference on a lengthy trip, especially if you are an introvert like me and don't like talking to fellow passengers.
Hopefully, there will be wifi on the next Greyhound bus you board. If so, I'm happy for you! If not then feel free to use the tips and ideas I've mentioned in this article to keep from going crazy from boredom.
You don't want to lose your mind on a Greyhound bus. There are probably already a couple of crazy people on the bus with you and you don't want to steal their thunder. Safe travels!