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rickycourtney

New Greyhound Station in Seattle

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My interest was piqued by the statement that the old station was built as a railway station. It took me a while to dig up the history of the old station. This "Central Station" is listed on most maps as the "Interurban Depot"; it was the station for the Seattle-Everett electric interurban streetcar line.

 

Sadly I haven't dug up maps of the Seattle-area interurbans. (My favorite series of railroad atlases is quite deficient on this matter.)

 

An article on some related matters:

 

http://pauldorpat.com/2010/09/11/seattle-now-then-the-central-bus-terminal/

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Sadly I haven't dug up maps of the Seattle-area interurbans. (My favorite series of railroad atlases is quite deficient on this matter.)

There's a map at this HistoryLink article and another one here, although neither are very detailed. Here's a better one, but the print is pretty small.

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There are a couple of good books on the trolleys of the region: To Seattle by Trolley and To Tacoma by Trolley, both by Warren Wing. There's also a book called Apple Country Interurban by Kenneth Johnson, about the interurbans of Yakima (outlined in this HistoryLink article by some clown named C Hamilton :) )

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Wow, that doesn't seem like a well-planned interurban, it just seemed to go around the population and detour through the woods. I thought it would've run along Pacific Highway/Aurora Ave.

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So while writing a story on the new station at work today I found out a little bit more:

The building has free Wi-Fi for passengers.

The waiting area has a bunch of power outlets along the wall. During the grand opening ceremonies none of the bench seating was in place, but it looked like the power outlets will sit right above the seat backs. Neat idea!

The station will have a self-serve convenience store. These are really popular here in Seattle. They have a much better selection than vending machines and you scan and pay for your items at an automated kiosk. Security cameras deter theft.

 

Also, Greyhound brought in a brand-new D4505 for the occasion. No joke, this thing looked like it had been washed and waxed for the occasion.

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A brand-new D4505? Greyhound didn't take delivery of another batch, so it shouldn't be that new. Also, they just took more X3-45's, now the numbers are up to 86689. That's a lot of Prevosts!

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A brand-new D4505? Greyhound didn't take delivery of another batch, so it shouldn't be that new. Also, they just took more X3-45's, now the numbers are up to 86689. That's a lot of Prevosts!

Well I guess I'm using a bit more loose definition of "brand-new" than you. Looked it up online and it was one of the last D4505's delivered in 2013... so about 6 months old. That's a lot newer than the 12+ year old G4500's that Greyhound normally uses in Seattle.

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Today was the first day of operations at the new Greyhound Depot in Sodo... and there was a ton of Greyhound employees there. Probably managers there to make sure that there were no hiccups.

In the past couple of days the crews put the final touches on the station... including all the Greyhound signage and I must admit that it looks nice.

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This picture shows how close the new station is to the Link Light Rail Stadium station.

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I was also able to go inside the station in snap a few pictures. The first picture is pretty blurry but the ticket counter looks really nice. The back wall is glossy blue tiles and the running dog had blue LED lights behind it that reflected onto the tile.

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The waiting room with some TV's and a few vending machines (the rumors of a self serve convince store seems to not be true.)

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The 2 boarding gates and the arrivals door. The station agents were allowing folks to sit on the seats outside (lovely weather here in Seattle today!)

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The seats in the waiting room complete with power outlets (and I'm told free Wi-Fi).

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The Greyhound Package Express office.

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Must admit this sign is a bit unsettling...

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My thoughts overall?

This station is in a good location in terms of access to public transportation and has really easy access to I-5 & I-90.

The station itself is a really utilitarian... I guess it's a nice enough place to wait for a few minutes but I can't escape the feeling that it will feel really run-down in a few years from now.

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Ricky, there's something very complicated going on with Greyhound right now, and I think we should discuss it on the Greyhound thread, because it involves huge schedule changed nationwide.

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Thanks for keeping us updated, Ricky, with all those photo's....

I am sorry, but I can't feel very enthusiastic seeing that new terminal...utilitarian, is an understatement....it sure doesn't do justice to representing the beautiful and vibrant city it is serving. I am comparing it in my mind with some of the 'palace's Greyhound built in the earlier era. This place looks like is is almost 'buried' by the garage and freeway structure.... more like a suburban 'park and ride' station, not a downtown terminal. But there's progress.......

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This picture shows how close the new station is to the Link Light Rail Stadium station.

 

This station is in a good location in terms of access to public transportation and has really easy access to I-5 & I-90.

The problem with the light rail's Stadium station, and (I assume) the new bus terminal, is that it is very difficult to walk from there to anywhere else. Maybe the powers that be don't want bus patrons wandering around the neighborhood, but the Sodo neighborhood is not exactly fancy. It's full of industrial and warehouse facilities, with lots of fast food joints and such that would be appropriate for those laying over between buses.

You would think the Stadium light rail station at South Royal Brougham Way between 4th and 6th Aves.—presumably designed with light rail commuters in mind—would be easily accessible by foot to and from the stadium from many directions.

My dangerous, circuitous, and inhospitable walk between Safeco Field and the light rail station last night taught me otherwise. There is, evidently, a single defined path on game day. But make one false move—like missing the unmarked doubleback loop off Royal Brougham—and suddenly you're in a concrete no-man's land that offers no out for pedestrians.

This major flaw makes it clear the station area planning was done without concern for people who are walking.

 

 

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I agree Charlie. The walk from Stadium Station and the new Greyhound station to the stadiums is long and a bit circuitous. It involves walking up a looped ramp that takes you up and over the railroad tracks. You're looking at a half mile walk to Safeco Field (shorter to the outfield gate) and the restaurants on 1st Ave and a 3/4 mile walk to CenturyLink Field. That's why most fans going to CenturyLink get off at International District/Chinatown station.

 

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I think Stadium station is mostly used by people going to Mariners games and Metro Transit employees headed to the 3 bus bases in the area. But this Greyhound station will add a bit of traffic.

 

Stopped by both the old and new stations again today (needed to kill some time on my day off). Interesting to note that while the old station is covered in "we've moved" signs, and most of the Greyhound signs are coming down, it's still open in a limited capacity. They have one old unrefurbished G4500 (#7253) running as a shuttle between the old and new stations. Probably because Greyhound being Greyhound hasn't bothered to update their website.

 

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Also stopped by the station. One refurbished G4500 had just finished it's run and was deadheading back to the depot in West Seattle as a H3-45 boarded passengers.

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H3-45 probably heading to Vancouver. I'm guessing Greyhound's IT guys are struggling with timetable changes for Greyhound massive route expansion and reshuffling for June 2014.

 

It's no surprise Greyhound is still neglecting Seattle and built this little station. Greyohund has been neglecting Seattle since 2004 due to poor profits, poor ridership, and poor stereotypes. Seattle has quite a lot of affluent people, who view down on Greyhound and refuse to ride it "at any cost", so Greyhound might as well neglect a city that hates Greyhound. After all, the general public doesn't know what the heck a G4500 is compared to a 102DL3.

 

Greyhound Vancouver has a much better reputation for some reason, so Greyhound is piling their best buses into Vancouver Garage.

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H3-45 probably heading to Vancouver. I'm guessing Greyhound's IT guys are struggling with timetable changes for Greyhound massive route expansion and reshuffling for June 2014.

 

I HIGHLY doubt it takes that long to update the address of a station that has already moved.

 

It's no surprise Greyhound is still neglecting Seattle and built this little station. Greyohund has been neglecting Seattle since 2004 due to poor profits, poor ridership, and poor stereotypes. Seattle has quite a lot of affluent people, who view down on Greyhound and refuse to ride it "at any cost", so Greyhound might as well neglect a city that hates Greyhound. After all, the general public doesn't know what the heck a G4500 is compared to a 102DL3.

 

Wow. That's a bit harsh against the people of Seattle and overly apologetic of Greyhound's shortcomings.

 

First off Greyhound abandoned routes up here in the Northwest (including Seattle to Chicago)... that doesn't do much to endear yourself to people. Granted, those were the old, bad days of a company that's still trying to improve but they still don't run a Seattle to Chicago route, instead contracting it out to Jefferson Lines.

 

Yes, Seattle is an affluent city but it also has a lot of people who are open minded about transportation. For proof of that, I point to the success of Greyhound's BoltBus routes here in the PNW. If Greyhound wanted that success for its own buses it would have taken a Greyhound Express route, with lots of advertising and a new station. Instead they took the easy route and put some red paint on buses.

 

Greyhound Vancouver has a much better reputation for some reason, so Greyhound is piling their best buses into Vancouver Garage.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Greyhound Canada determines what fleet runs out of Vancouver... so wouldn't they be responsible for piling THEIR best buses into Vancouver.

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Don't tell me Seattle is open-minded about transportation. BoltBus does not have the bad brand history that Greyhound has. Greyhound thought the G4500 would be great for Seattle-Chicago, so they put then on it, but they burned up, and passengers fled, so Greyhound cut the route. But later when Greyhound restarted it with DL3's, ridership was still very low, so Greyhound cut it again. Now Greyhound still has a bad relationship with any affluent people because of their bad brand history.

 

Even worse are people that think Greyhound is bad because they have historically carried many blacks, while Amtrak has historically carried more whites. Don't you try to say racism isn't present in the US.

 

And Greyhound Canada is headed by David Leach, the same President that heads Greyhound US. In fact, David Leach is a Canadian. So Leach does have a BIG say in which buses go where, and it's no surprise he sent better buses to his home country.

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You just made my point for me... Greyhound decided it was easier to create a new brand than repair its "bad brand history."

Edited by rickycourtney

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Okay, I have scanned this entire thread, and am still curious as to why Greyhound, or all intercity bus operations, didn't relocate to the refurbished Seattle King St., Station. I am ignorant of the Seattle King St., Station. So would like from one of those who is knowledgeable, a quick explanation of why intercity buses were not made part of the Refurbished King St., Station. Thank you.

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As I understand it… The City of Seattle approached Greyhound and asked if they wanted to move into King Street station. Greyhound scoffed at the proposal.

 

I assume that the city would have wanted Greyhound to pay for part of the restoration and building five or six bus bays at the station (buses just stop in a loop outside right now) and Greyhound didn't want to spend any money.

 

What Greyhound didn't know at the time was that just a few months later their building in downtown Seattle would be sold and they would be forced to move.

 

Adding bus bays to King Street station while it was already torn up would have been relatively easy... but doing it now that the restoration is finished would be a challenge and possibly more expensive than building this new station.

 

It's a shame for passengers because King Street station is definitely a much more grand place to wait to catch train or a bus and having both Greyhound and Amtrak together under one roof may have provided enough passenger traffic to get a higher level of amenities (currently both stations only have a couple of vending machines.)

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Bolt Bus stops directly across the pedestrian walkway on 5th Avenue. One could argue that Greyhound is trying to get the benefit of KSS without paying for it, but I imagine that they get more passengers from the transit buses on 4th Avenue and Jackson Street. Of course, any Greyhound passenger who wants to use light rail -- and there will be lots more when the extension to the University District opens in 2016 -- can now get off at Stadium station rather than International District/Chinatown. I doubt that they're getting many passengers from Sounder commuter trains.

 

I suspect, however, that both Amtrak and Greyhound are happy with the way things turned out. KSS gets pretty busy with just Amtrak passengers, and it would have required some fairly major surgery to add bus bays--I suspect they would have had to take a chunk of space from the stadium parking lot to do so, which, no doubt, would have cost more than Greyhound was willing to pay. And Amtrak station personnel doesn't have to deal with the bus passengers.

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Greyhound Seattle routes possibly have the lowest profits in the system. G4500's pretty much made no money before rebuilds. It's no surprise they don't want to spend money on Seattle.

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Greyhound Seattle routes possibly have the lowest profits in the system. G4500's pretty much made no money before rebuilds. It's no surprise they don't want to spend money on Seattle.

Source?

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Greyhound Seattle routes possibly have the lowest profits in the system. G4500's pretty much made no money before rebuilds. It's no surprise they don't want to spend money on Seattle.

Source?

 

 

GTE from back when I was a lurker. And it's easy to understand: Greyhound stacked their worst buses in Seattle, laid off drivers, and cut schedules. Do you think a company would do their worst to a place that does not make the worst profits?

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Greyhound Seattle routes possibly have the lowest profits in the system. G4500's pretty much made no money before rebuilds. It's no surprise they don't want to spend money on Seattle.

Source?

 

GTE from back when I was a lurker. And it's easy to understand: Greyhound stacked their worst buses in Seattle, laid off drivers, and cut schedules. Do you think a company would do their worst to a place that does not make the worst profits?

 

Something you saw long ago from an unofficial source doesn't seem very reliable to me.

 

As GML said, if ridership is bad, it's bad due to decisions on the part of Greyhound.

 

That being said the company is finally making some good decisions in this part of the country. This new station (as unimpressive as it is) is an improvement over the old, rundown station, that's good. Greyhound has started the slow process of refurbishing the old buses, that's good too. Also (as much as you may not like it) the company HAS spent a lot of money and dedicated a lot of resources in the PNW launching BoltBus (on par with the resources given to the Greyhound Express route between Dallas & Houston). That decision appears to have paid dividends... the BoltBus route is popular, well liked and appears to have taken a bite out of ridership on the Cascades.

 

I prefer taking trains... but all things considered I would take BoltBus again as long as the schedules are better and the price is right. Hell, I'd take "the new Greyhound" if the company could guarantee that I would be riding on a refurbished bus but it sounds like it will still be a while until that happens.

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