KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Greyhound rejected an offer from the City of Knoxville to share a local transit center, and the company’s decision to change their local bus stop location for the third time this year presents significant issues, the mayor’s office said in a recent update given to city council.
In a memo to the Knoxville City Council on Tuesday, Deputy to the Mayor Erin Gill said Greyhound rejected an offer that would allow the bus company limited use of the Knoxville Station Transit Center on E. Church Ave at an estimated cost of $400,000 annually.
Gill wrote that the offer included security, custodial staff and other costs associated with operating the center 24 hours a day. She said Greyhound’s monthly budget would not cover costs for security, custodial services and added utility costs.
Additionally, Gill wrote that the company’s decision to use the bus stop at 100 Kirkwood Street presents operational challenges for city buses that use the stop and adds expense to public taxpayers.
The memo states that the stop does not have enough space for both Greyhound and KAT buses and that there is not enough room at the bus shelter to accommodate passengers of multiple carriers.
She said a KAT supervisor recently had to drive Greyhound passengers from the stop to a hotel after they waited hours at night for a bus that never arrived.
“By using KAT’s Kirkwood Superstop as their defacto station, Greyhound has further abrogated their responsibility to provide their passengers with a secure, sanitary, and sheltered experience.”Erin Gill, Deputy to the Mayor
Gill said Mayor Indya Kincannon is exploring legal, administrative or legislative remedies that would ensure private bus operations don’t impede city bus operations or add undue costs to their public transportation system.
“What would be needed would be an indoor facility with male and female bathrooms, a heated area and cooling in the summer,” Sixth District City Council Member Gwen McKenzie said. “Just a safe space like what they provided previously and what they provide in other cities.”
According to the memo, the mayor’s office has been in contact with Greyhound regional and district management representatives since April to provide recommendations and information on a more appropriate location for Greyhound pick-up and drop-off services.
As an industry standard, bus operators conduct service from a unique mix of locations including owned stations, transit centers, gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants, community landmarks and more,” a Greyhound spokesperson said in a statement to WATE. “This operational model holds true for Greyhound as well across our network, so we can continue to provide this essential service to the Knoxville community.”
After the site of the previous Greyhound station on Magnolia Avenue was sold, the company moved their stop to a gas station on N Cherry Street in April and most recently used the Top Market and Deli on N. Six Avenue as a drop-off and pick-up site.