Sometime in late spring or early summer of this year, the local Greyhound station quietly closed, kicking patrons to the curb — literally.
The former station, located in a building at the intersection of West Main St., Ridge St., and McIntire Rd., offered shelter, seats, restrooms, and a full-service ticketing counter for folks traveling to, through, or from town via bus.
Now, it’s just an uncovered stop on the sidewalk at 105 Ridge St., and it appears that Greyhound has no plans to change that.
In a chat with a Greyhound support liaison via the bus line’s website last week, Charlottesville Tomorrow asked if there are any plans to change the location of the stop, or build some sort of bus shelter there.
“I’m sorry to inform you, but Charlottesville, VA is only a bus stop. We don’t have a bus station or terminal agent on that location,” the liaison said.
That answer isn’t much different from the one Charlottesville Tomorrow received from a Greyhound media relations spokesperson back in late June. Charlottesville Tomorrow also reached out to Greyhound’s media relations team Monday and did not immediately hear back.
What’s more, both the building that shares the 105 Ridge St. address with the stop, currently owned and used by the Music Resource Center, as well as building that housed the Greyhound station (which is owned by a Greyhound-affiliated company), have been on the market for months.
It was a troubling decision by the company, which has suffered massive financial losses due to, and throughout, the pandemic (buses aren’t exactly great places to practice social distancing), and has converted a number of stations into stops.
And it’s a decision that disproportionately affects low-income people: Bus travel is typically cheaper and more accessible than plane and train travel. Greyhound claims to serve far more than 2,000 different locations throughout North America, while Amtrak serves about 500. Airports with commercial passenger service also serve around 500 locations.
Right away, travelers were left out in the hot summer sun with no shelter other than some trees bending over the fence of a nearby parking lot, with no immediate access to water, food, or a restroom.
They arrived at the listed address, 310 W. Main St., expecting a station and instead finding a stop, one with no access to a ticketing counter to find out if their buses were delayed, or cancelled, and with no access to electricity to charge electronic devices that would provide digital tickets, schedules, arrival and departure times. It was confusing, disorienting, and for some, disheartening.