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  • Reimagining Intercity Travel: The Move to Publicly Owned Bus Stations

Reimagining Intercity Travel: The Move to Publicly Owned Bus Stations

How Cities Can Foster Accessible and Efficient Intercity Bus Services

In recent years, Greyhound bus stations across the United States have been closing or relocating from central business districts. This has led to a significant change in the landscape of intercity bus transportation, often to the detriment of convenient and accessible travel.

Cities now face a pivotal opportunity to reshape intercity transport by investing in publicly owned and operated bus stations. Such an initiative can ensure strategic location selection, high-quality amenities, and maintenance standards. A key advantage of public ownership is the ability to provide stations that serve multiple bus operators and are well integrated with local transit systems.

A notable trend in intercity bus travel is the increasing prevalence of buses departing from streets or parking lots. This situation often arises due to the lack of proper facilities or the prohibitively high costs charged to operators by existing stations. By offering a publicly funded, high-quality location for bus operators, cities can alleviate this issue, enhancing the overall travel experience for passengers.

In cities with existing train stations, these facilities often represent the ideal location for intercity bus services. Their established connectivity and infrastructure make them natural hubs for transportation. However, for cities lacking train stations, there is a pressing need to develop dedicated bus stations to cater to the growing demand for intercity bus services.

An effective approach to establishing new bus stations is to locate them at the base of local transit agency offices. This strategy not only proves cost-effective but also ensures the integration of intercity buses with local transit networks. The Soscol Gateway Transit Center in Napa, California, exemplifies this model. Situated near the Oxbow neighborhood and the fairgrounds that host the Bottle Rock festival, it also houses the offices for the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA), creating a hub of transit activity.

The landscape of intercity bus transportation in the U.S. is evolving, marked by the emergence of new and fast-growing regional operators like Salt Lake Express (see map above). This development underscores the need for modern, well-equipped bus stations that can support the expanding network of intercity bus services.

The decline of centrally located Greyhound bus stations presents both a challenge and an opportunity. By investing in publicly owned and operated intercity stations, cities can ensure that these vital transportation hubs meet the needs of modern travelers and support the growth of regional bus operators. This strategy is not only a practical response to current trends but also a forward-looking approach to shaping the future of intercity bus travel in the United States.

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