It’s been nearly eight months since Greyhound moved its operations from downtown Edmonton to the city’s north side but some bus passengers say much more work is needed to make the main terminal more accessible.
“It’s garbage here, you can’t get anywhere,” said one passenger after getting off a Greyhound bus.
On May 29, 2016, Greyhound moved to the VIA Rail station at 12360 121 Street from its central location at 10324 103 Street after learning the building it was in would be demolished as part of development plans for Ice District.
While concerns about accessibility were immediately raised when Greyhound first announced the move, the company had said sharing a roof with VIA Rail would be “more convenient for travel.” To address concerns about the remoteness of the new location – more than five kilometres north of the old one – the company said it would address accessibility concerns by providing a dedicated taxi service to offer in-city travel and specific hotel drop-offs, Sky Shuttle service to the airport and customer downtown drop-offs and pick-ups twice daily.
But some travellers say despite the company’s efforts, the location was ill-conceived.
“It took us 20 minutes to walk here because there’s no bus out here,” Silas Schmidt, a German backpacker said on Monday.
After taking an Edmonton Transit bus to the stop closest to the Greyhound depot, Schmidt and fellow German tourist Jill Hemberger were forced to go for a kilometre-long hike in the bitter cold to get to the terminal.
The tourists were forced to trek through the snow to get to the depot because the road leading to it has no sidewalk.
In a statement, Greyhound reiterated the shuttle service it provides to and from the Welcome Centre downtown, but added it continues “to work closely with Edmonton Transit for additional passenger drops.”
One of those potential locations is the Kingsway Transit Centre.
READ MORE: Greyhound’s future uncertain in Edmonton
“We’re still talking with Greyhound officials about what some of the options are,” Jennifer Laraway with the Edmonton Transit System said. “We have a city policy where we are looking to have 30 boardings per hour and to meet those minimum requirements, in order to balance providing efficient, effective service with taxpayer dollar investment, that demand’s not there right now.”
Edmonton Transit also said the lack of sidewalk poses a problem because busses can’t drop people off without one.
“(I’m) surprised,” Schmidt said when asked about the lack of sidewalk or transit access to the Greyhound depot. “Because that is a main point for travelling far, Greyhound busses and VIA Rail stations, but the busses are not connected here,” he said.
Hemberger said, in most German cities, various forms of transit are interconnected and all streets have sidewalks. However, she laughed and said she was taking the whole situation in stride.
“I like the snow,” she said with a grin.
“There’s really nothing good about it, to be quite honest with you,” bus passenger Brian Lamb said. “Move it back downtown.”
Greyhound also has a location in south Edmonton, just off Calgary Trail at 5723 104 St. The company said operations at that site will continue as normal.
Watch below: Some Edmontonians say they are embarrassed at the inaccessibility of the city’s north end Greyhound depot. The reaction comes after several travellers were forced to drag their luggage through the snow Monday. Vinesh Pratap speaks to the city for answers.
-With files from Vinesh Pratap and Emily Mertz.