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Big bus battle brewing: Peter Pan sues Greyhound over commissions

Peter Pan Bus Lines, which continues to operate joint services with Greyhound in the Northeast, this week sued its larger partner, alleging the bus giant has become a Captain Hook that is trying to screw it out of commissions, in part through a barely functioning ticketing Web site.

In its lawsuit, filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Peter Pan says that in recent years, Greyhound has even refused to pay commissions on the increasingly lucrative sale of tickets that are bought online, then never actually used.

Peter Pan alleges Greyhound tried to force it to drop its own ticketing system for a Greyhound one that never worked right and connived to get Peter Pan to subsidize the salaries of Greyhound workers who mostly didn't work on any routes Peter Pan was involved in.

The two companies once were direct competitors on inter-city bus routes in the Northeast, but after a ruinous price war in the 1990s, the two set up a "pool" to jointly run bus service in the region, specifically on routes between Boston, New York and Washington.

All went well until a few years ago, Peter Pan charges, when Greyhound tried to force Peter Pan to turn off its own online ticketing site and move to Greyhound's, even though Greyhound's system initially couldn't track Peter Pan sales, which meant a potential loss of commissions for the Springfield-based company.

The suit alleges Peter Pan tried several times redirecting customers to the Greyhound site:

Once again, the parties attempted to launch the web site on July 24, 2012. By July 26, Peter Pan's information center reported that people could not open the schedules and fares web page. Performance was terrible and tests indicated that Greyhound's system was not responding to Peter Pan's requests in a timely fashion. Once again, Peter Pan was forced to return to its old website on July 26, 2012. 95.

After months of further delays, technical difficulties, and failed attempts, Web Services went live again on February 13, 2013. It operated, with significant difficulty and customer complaints, until the parties decided to revert back to the old system on March 22, 2013 due to the service issues.

Then, Peter Pan continues, Greyhound simply stopped paying commissions on Web-based ticket sales.

Peter Pan also charges that Greyhound has never paid Peter Pan commissions on sales of tickets that are then never used. The company charges that such sales, mainly done online, could account for up to 2.9% of all ticket sales now.

The company also charges that it agreed to subsidize the salaries of new workers hired to run a joint premium "Express" service but that Greyhound now has many of these workers spending major parts of their day on Greyhound-specific business.

The suit does not specify an exact amount of damages sought, except that they total more than $75,000 - the minimum required for a federal lawsuit.

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Comments

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the company deserves the money it has rightfully earned. money that goes towards things like fleet maintenance and payroll. as well as money that goes towards taxes.

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You might want to use the Googles to look up something like "Peter Pan Darlings."

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because everyone's an expert on children's literature and Peter Pan. Let's make an obscure reference, than feel superior when others don't recognize it.

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Regulars know I strive to include as many references as possible to obscure or 40-year-old movies, songs and books, preferably with headlines that involve bad puns, alliteration or rhymes. People who prefer more sober approaches to the news can try the Globe, except not in this case, since they haven't written about this particular suit.

My chief regret with this particular story was learning that Peter Picknelly has retired as president of the plaintiff, so I had no reason to write "Peter Pan President Peter Picknelly" as I used to do back in my callow cub-reporter days when I had reason to write about his family's company.

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headlines that involve bad puns

On that note, have you finally run out of puns for the broken-down train headlines, or has the MBTA actually become amazingly reliable* lately?

________
* Hahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahaha, no seriously.

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The paper to our south ran a piece yesterday called What to do in 36 hours in Boston. It was a decentish touristy look, aside from a couple of snooty Nooyawkisms ("this little big town has emerged from its brainy, introverted shell") and the delusion that Bostonians are talking about nothing but the Verb hotel. In any case, it had this to say about getting to Fenway Park and the Gardner:

Two of Boston’s most beloved shrines are both accessible by the quirky Green Line MBTA trolley.

Qurky, yeah, that's it. The perfect word! I can't wait for the T to start using that in its alerts:

The Green Line is now experiencing quirky delays. The following stops are affected ...

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i do not, as a person with no children, make it a habit to read literature intended for them

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Yikes

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It's from Arrested Development:

You're a crook, Captain Hook!
Oh, won't you throw the book
At the piiiiiiii-rate?

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This isn't the Bob Loblaw Law Blog.

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"Peter Pan" and "fleet maintenance" in the same paragraph.

hahaha.

you've been to the Springfield depot, haven't you?
hilarious.

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Yeah, it is a bit of a dump, but it will soon be replaced by a revamped Union Station intermodal transportation center.

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basically has a monopoly on western mass, and has for a long time.
they have captive audiences in the 5 colleges and are essentially the only means of getting to Boston, because they've worked hard to nix any rail development.

they could have contributed to making that station and their bus service a lot better, a loooooong time ago, without even relying on Springfield Redevelopment funds. the station is disgusting, not just kind of a dump, and shows how little they care about their passengers. because they don't have to.

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"The two companies once were direct competitors on inter-city bus routes in the Northeast, but after a ruinous price war in the 1990s, the two set up a "pool" to jointly run bus service in the region, specifically on routes between Boston, New York and Washington."

Isn't this normally called collusion, and illegal?

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Not if it's a race to the bottom

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The Surface Transportation Board approved their pool arrangement back in 1999, the bus companies were able to made the case that there are plenty of ways to get to NYC.

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we never had these problems with Fung Wah. They'd still be around if they'd have built their buses using asbestos...

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