Greyhound Lines is standing by the decision of the driver who removed a North Texas man from a bus 200 miles short of his destination, despite the man showing his ticket.
In a statement to NBC DFW, in response to an incident that was previously reported on, Greyhound indicated that the passenger, Mohammed Reza, an Iranian International student, became “unruly” when the driver asked him to show his ticket.
“Greyhound has investigated the situation. The driver asked everyone onboard to show their ticket, and the customer, who was asked twice to present his ticket, refused to do so and became unruly, both with the driver and a security guard who was called for assistance,” a statement from Greyhound began. “Due to his behavior, the customer was asked to leave the bus, to which he refused, and the police were called to remove him. The customer finally provided his ticket after the police arrived. However, per our policy, any unruly behavior will result in the customer being removed from a schedule.”
Reza, who lives in Arlington, disputes many points in the Greyhound statement, chief among them that his behavior could reasonably be described as “unruly.”
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Reza boarded a Greyhound bus in downtown Dallas shortly after 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13. After a transfer in Oklahoma City shortly before midnight, the Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Arlington said that he settled in for a night’s sleep so he would be well-rested for his conference, which began at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Sometime around three in the morning, in Wichita, Kansas, Reza said he was awakened by the Greyhound bus driver who demanded to see his ticket.
“The first thing that I remember is I showed my phone, the eTicket that I had," Reza recalled. "But, she was very angry and she started yelling that, ‘I cannot accept this cell phone ticket. She asked me, ‘Do you understand what the meaning of printed copy is?’ I thought that maybe because of my accent – I am an international student here – or my name [that] she saw on the cell phone, the PDF file. She did not explain [why she was upset].”
Moments later, Reza claims that he did locate the paper version of his bus ticket. By that time, the driver was already telling him he had to leave the bus.
A cellphone video that Reza shot and later posted to Facebook captured some of that exchange.
"You're not going with me. I don't want to talk to you no more. Get off my bus!” the unidentified driver said to Reza, who is seen holding the paper copy of his ticket in his hand. “Police is helping you off. Don't worry. Police is coming. You're not going with me."
"I really don't know…” Reza interjected, reportedly in an attempt to determine why he was being forced off of a bus despite having multiple versions of a valid ticket.
“You're not going with me! So stop talking with me. If you're not getting off stop talking to me. Police will be here in a minute to help you off so no, I don't want to talk to you no more. Go away,” the driver said.
"What's the reason?” Reza asked while he turned and walked back toward his seat.
When asked why he recorded a portion of the exchange on his cellphone, Reza said it was because he did not know what was about to happen to him.
“It was my last chance, based on previous experiences happening with airlines. I know police are coming and I had to tell my wife or my friends what was happening inside because 3 a.m. I didn't know what was going to happen next,” Reza said.
Reza said the bus left him at the closed Greyhound station at about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday. When an employee arrived after 4 a.m., Reza said he was told the next bus to Kansas City left at approximately 2:30 p.m. – six hours after his conference began.
Instead of missing the conference, where Reza was set to present the findings of his study for the City of Dallas that looked at disparities in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system, which claims to show inadequacies that disproportionately impact poor people, Reza hailed a Lyft driver to take him the remaining 200 miles, at a cost of nearly $250.
Reza made his conference and presented his research. A subsequent email from the panel moderator cited a city planner in attendance who claimed Reza’s panel “was one of the highlights of the conference.”
At the end of the day, Reza opted to fly home to Dallas on Tuesday night as opposed to using the return Greyhound ticket he had already paid for.
NBC DFW asked Greyhound if the company could elaborate further on what “unruly” meant as it related specifically to Reza’s behavior, but a spokesperson did not provide any additional detail.