The manager of the Baltimore Greyhound bus station was misidentified in a caption and article yesterday in The Sun. He is Stanley Stith.
The Sun regrets the errors.
As they sat in the plastic bucket-like chairs, waiting stoicly for their ride to a small town in Kentucky or to the casinos in Atlantic City, Greyhound bus riders in Baltimore shrugged off news of the bus company's latest financial detour.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
What mattered more were their own finances and their own routes: the change left in their pockets after paying as little as $11 for a one-way ticket to New York, and whether their bus would leave the West Fayette Street station on time.
Yesterday's filing of an involuntary bankruptcy petition by some Greyhound Lines Inc. bondholders isn't expected to affect operations, because the management of a company in Chapter 11 usually gets to run the business while the case is pending.
"Everybody is going bankrupt," shrugged Baltimorean Morris Smith, who was waiting for a ride to New York.
Pvt. Michael Stamp had just split a $35 cab ride from the Aberdeen Proving Ground to Baltimore with an Army buddy, and he was catching a bus to Kentucky to visit his fiancee.
Wearing his sharply creased dress greens, the young soldier explained that he's saving his money to get married, so he liked the low bus fare -- $112 round trip. And he seemed sincerely appreciative of Greyhound's service: "They treat you here like you were at home," he said as he loaded a duffel bag into a locker.
For 13-year-old Latoya Alston and her two sisters and brother, all pouring quarters into the tiny televisions attached to their seats, Greyhound was just fine.
The only problem with their wait for a bus that would take them to their mother in New York: "The bathroom smells terrible."
One patron, who declined to give her name, said the bankruptcy filing was Greyhound's just desserts, however.
Ever since Greyhound bought its biggest competitor -- Continental Trailways -- the quality of service has dropped, she says, and that's why the company has been taking it on the chin. And the company is always coming up with rules to take more money from customers: It now charges $5 for changing tickets, for example, she said.
She says she'd love to take some other transportation, but Greyhound is still the cheapest and fastest method for those who don't have a car. "There is nothing wrong with the price," said the woman, who paid $11 for a round trip from her Silver Spring home to Baltimore. "You just have to put up with it," she said.
Station manager Michael Stith, a big, ebullient man with a bright smile, said the 38 Greyhound workers in Baltimore have been working hard to change the often negative image of bus travel.
He says his janitors clean the bathrooms every hour.
And traffic at the Baltimore station is up this year: About 400 tickets a day are sold, up from 300 last year, and 30 buses now stop each 24 hours, up 10 from last year.
Mr. Stith, who started as a driver, even has a good word for Greyhound's troubled computerized reservation system. While the system did crash often when it was first introduced last year, he says, it is now working well.
The bankruptcy won't affect service or payroll, he said, and it won't affect his faith in Greyhound's future. "We're going to come out of here smoking," he said.