- Chicago’s Greyhound bus station was listed for sale earlier this year by CBRE, a commercial real estate company. The station is one of many formerly Greyhound-owned properties not included in FlixMobility’s 2021 acquisition of the bus line.
- The sale could result in the bus station’s closure, potentially making Chicago the largest U.S. city without a downtown, publicly-provided bus terminal, according to a brief released last week by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. The bus station mainly serves “passengers who are disproportionately low-income, unemployed, and disabled,” the brief says.
- While the Greyhound station lists 55 daily scheduled arrivals and departures, other intercity bus lines that stop in Chicago only make curbside pickups and drop-offs, a hardship for riders during harsh winters.
Greyhound bus stations were once a fixture in American cities, and the Harrison Street location in Chicago handles between 456,000 and 557,000 riders per year, the Chaddick Institute estimates. An additional 340,000 to 390,000 riders use curbside locations for Greyhound or other bus lines. More than a quarter of those passengers would not have been able to make their trip without bus service, according to the Chaddick Institute’s analysis of surveys by state governments in the Midwest.
All but two of Greyhound’s former properties were sold by September 2022, causing cities to lose enclosed bus stations and forcing riders to wait at curbside or other locations lacking waiting rooms and other amenities. Greyhound has already relocated its stops in Charlottesville, Virginia; Jackson, Mississippi; Knoxville, Tennessee; North Little Rock, Arkansas; and Tampa, Florida. Greyhound stations in Cleveland; Houston; Kansas City, Missouri; and Nashville, Tennessee, are all at risk of closure, according to the Chaddick Institute’s 2023 annual intercity bus review.
“Chicago’s intercity bus system serves customers with substantially lower incomes, less access to cars, and higher unemployment than the general population,” the brief states. “Allowing the closure of the Greyhound Station without giving passengers an attractive alternative that is both centrally located and equipped with an indoor waiting room would make metropolitan Chicago a weak link in the national intercity bus system.”
The brief recommends that Chicago develop a plan to take over and operate the bus station, resist zoning changes for the site, prohibit razing the structure and assemble a technical committee to explore the role of intercity bus travel in the region and look at ways to improve and expand service with a publicly-owned bus station.