A handful of passengers waited outside for a Greyhound bus in Erie on Thursday morning.
Greyhound’s Erie ticket office and waiting room are closed, maybe permanently.
Passengers now must board or disembark from Greyhound buses behind the office, located in the Intermodal Transportation Center on East Bayfront Parkway.
Jim Joseph Thomas, 29, a Gannon University MBA student from India, waited Thursday morning to board a bus to Cleveland, with plans to travel on to Chicago for his summer vacation. He arrived at the Greyhound station at 8:30 am to be there with plenty of time to catch a bus due at 9:20. The bus, from Buffalo, New York, arrived at 10:08 am
“It’s really bad,” Thomas said. “I’ve been sitting out here when it’s cold outside. There are benches, but they are hard metal and you can’t sit on them for more than five minutes.”
Greyhound’s local office is closed because Greyhound no longer has a ticket agent in the office, said Jeremy Peterson, chief executive officer of the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, which owns the Intermodal Center. Greyhound Lines is a tenant in the building.
Whether the ticket office will be permanently closed isn’t clear, Peterson said.
Video:Erie’s former Greyhound bus station on Perry Square demolished, making way for redevelopment
“We heard a rumor from a Greyhound employee that, as of May 1, there would be no ticket agent in the office for a 30-day trial period,” Peterson said. “Nothing has been formally sent to us by Greyhound. But they’re still picking up and dropping off customers.”
There has been no Greyhound ticket agent on duty since May 1, Peterson said.
EMTA has contacted Greyhound for more information.
EMTA:Local transit authority awarded $2.25 million from infrastructure bill, bringing federal aid to $26 million
“As soon as we heard the rumor, we reached out to Greyhound through our real estate broker and were told by the corporate office that it would contact the operations department for Greyhound to find out what’s going on,” Peterson said Wednesday. “We haven’t heard anything more yet.”
Peterson said Thursday morning that ETMA still had no word from Greyhound on the status of the local office.
The Greyhound office and waiting remains locked.
“There’s a little bit of anger for Greyhound customers, I imagine,” Peterson said. “If they want to buy a ticket or wait inside or use the restroom, they can’t. But if Greyhound is not going to have anyone in the office, we can’t leave it open. We have to consider security and protect our other tenants in the building.”
Other tenants in the building include VisitErie, Erie County’s tourism promotion agency, and Congressman Mike Kelly’s Erie office.
Tall Ships Erie 2022:Festival tickets on sale, first ships announced
The Erie Times-News reached out to Greyhound Lines for comment.
The Erie ticket office is now an e-ticket location, Crystal Booker, a Greyhound spokesperson, said in emails to the Erie Times-News.
“It is a permanent arrangement,” Booker said Wednesday.
“Greyhound stops at a range of locations across its extensive network. Similar to the rest of the intercity bus industry, some of these stops are self-service locations,” Booker said in an emailed statement Thursday. “After a thorough review of our service in the area, Greyhound decided to transition to the aforementioned industry-wide model so that we can continue to provide this essential service to the community.
“While this is a change to how we were previously operated in the area, customers can continue to rely on Greyhound for affordable and convenient travel,” Booker said.
Customers can book online, on the Greyhound app, or by calling its customer service hotline, Booker said. Greyhound passengers can also pay for tickets with cash by visiting a participating retail partner.
Greyhound’s lease for its Erie ticket office and terminal extends for another four years, Peterson said.
EMTA opened a new ticket window for EMTA customers at the Intermodal Center on Wednesday.
“We had a window inside next to the Greyhound ticket office and now are putting in a window on the outside of the Intermodal Center where our passengers will be able to get EMTA passes and tickets,” Peterson said. “We want to make sure our people are taken care of. We have 45% of our fixed-route EMTA buses that use the Intermodal site as a hub.”
Seven or eight Greyhound buses come in and out of the Intermodal Center daily, Peterson said.
The Greyhound ticket office closing will not affect local EMTA bus service, he said.
Manging editor Christopher Millette contributed to this report.
Contact Valerie Myers at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ETNmyers.