Nov 20, 2023 - News

Oakland station among Greyhound stations closed across nation

Oakland's Greyhound bus station in 2018. Photo: Pi.1415926535/Source/CC BY-SA 3.0

Greyhound bus stations nationwide, including in Oakland, are closing and relocating outside central business districts after being acquired by an investment firm that rose to infamy for its acquisition and gutting of American newspapers.

Why it matters: Greyhound has long been the brand most closely associated with intercity bus travel in the U.S. Its stations, often architecturally and culturally significant, occupy prime downtown real estate considered ripe for commercial and residential development.

  • But Greyhound's passengers, who tend to be younger and lower income than other travelers, now must wait at improvised outdoor pickup locations or travel at extremely early or late times to inconvenient locations to catch their bus.

Driving the news: Twenty Lake Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Alden Global Capital, purchased 33 Greyhound stations from U.K. conglomerate FirstGroup late last year.

  • FirstGroup acquired Greyhound in 2021 and sold the bus service to German transport company FlixBus for $172 million but retained the stations until the sale to the Alden subsidiary.

The big picture: Multiple downtown Greyhound stations closed and relocated to less formal locations after the sales, including ones in Oakland, Philadelphia, Louisville and Cleveland.

  • In Oakland, the historic station had been falling into disrepair even before Greyhound pulled its buses, but since 2021, when Greyhound removed its buses from the depot, it has become the site of underground parties and a resting place for unhoused individuals.
  • Oakland passengers now board Greyhound and Flix buses on a strip of land adjacent to a BART station.
  • When the depot opened in 1926, an article in Architect and Engineer said, "The colors in the room are warm and the openings of the eight bays are framed and linteled with bronze metal work of beautiful detail," The Oaklandside reports.

What they're saying: Twenty Lake did not respond to an Axios email and phone call seeking comment. Numerous messages to Greyhound and FlixBus have not been returned.

Between the lines: The relocation of stations to less accessible, outdoor locations raises equity and safety concerns.

  • A DePaul University study this year found that Greyhound riders tend to be younger and lower income than other travelers and are less likely to have access to a car.

Flashback: In 1990, Greyhound relocated its San Francisco bus depot on Seventh and Mission streets to the Transbay Transit Terminal in SoMa.

Go deeper: Greyhound stations are leaving downtowns after sale to notorious investment firm

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