Thousands of people lined up Wednesday in festive crowds at bus stations in 12 Southern cities to buy 59-cent tickets to Ohio, California, Iowa, New York, Walt Disney World and anywhere else that Greyhound buses go.
"Can't beat it for $1.18," said Jim Edwards, who got in line Tuesday night in Atlanta to buy a round-trip ticket to San Francisco.
The 59-cent promotional fares went on sale at noon Wednesday at Greyhound stations in Atlanta; Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla.; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Birmingham, Ala.; and Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio.
The sale ended at 1 p.m., but everyone in line by then qualified to buy two tickets good for travel between March 6 and April 5.
Greyhound managers pre-printed tickets, hired extra security, assigned speedy sales agents and gathered thousands of pennies to make change.
Lines stretched around and through bus terminals, and the sale stretched into the afternoon as agents tried to accommodate the rush of people.
More than 2,000 people, twice as many as expected, sought the 59-cent tickets in Nashville.
At the head of the line were Clifford Brown and five friends who arrived at 3 a.m. Wednesday in a limousine from Cincinnati to buy tickets to Miami and San Francisco.
'We'd Save $1,000'
"We figured we'd save $1,000 this way," Brown said.
"I didn't get any sleep," said Mylinda Pearson, 32, first in a line of 2,500 to 3,000 people in Atlanta. She arrived Tuesday morning with her son, Nicholas, seeking tickets to Walt Disney World near Orlando.
In New Orleans, sales manager Dan Dismukes said he ordered 1,800 pennies and made sure the terminal's best agents were at the windows. About 2,000 people waited in a line that spilled throughout the terminal, forcing officials to hand out rainchecks to reduce the confusion.