Oklahoma City Council members on Tuesday urged representatives from Greyhound to consider eventual use of the future MAPS 3 intermodal transit hub as the council considers an item to allow the bus company to use a new terminal east of downtown.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to temporarily delay a decision on approving a permit for the new terminal, which would be on the southwest corner of E Reno and Martin Luther King avenues.
Greyhound's lease on its current terminal at Sheridan and Walker avenues is up in a year and a half, but the MAPS 3 transit hub won't be ready by then.
Councilman Skip Kelly was the first to ask for the delay, wanting more time to look at how to best balance the need for uninterrupted and economically successful long-haul bus service and integration with civic planning.
A Greyhound representative told the city they intend to sign a 10-year lease to operate the new terminal, in part to ensure the bus company and the property owner get a return on investments to improve the property and add infrastructure for bus service.
Kelly, Councilman Ed Shadid and Councilwoman Meg Salyer were the leading voices in urging Greyhound to consider the mutual benefits of an eventual move to the transit hub when making their investments and signing a lease for the new terminal.
City officials hope the Santa Fe Train Depot on E.K. Gaylord Boulevard will be the eventual site of the MAPS 3 transit hub. Negotiations to buy the property from its current owner are ongoing but have not been successful so far.
“At some point, the Santa Fe station needs to enter the discussion (for Greyhound),” Shadid said. “That, to me, seems like the ultimate destination.”
Salyer expressed hope the transit hub would eventually prove to be a viable option for Greyhound even with the move to the Reno and Martin Luther King terminal, but she said she didn't expect them to know now whether it will work for sure.
“The way time flies these days, 10 years to have established a full intermodal transit hub is not unreasonable to consider,” Salyer said. “We have a ton of work to do before we get to realize that long-term goal. We have a short-term problem that we need to resolve.”
Access for METRO Transit buses and the national and regional bus lines has long been part of plans for the hub, which also is intended to include access for the MAPS 3 streetcar, Amtrak, pedestrians and cyclists and room for possible expansion to accommodate high-speed or light rail.
Shadid also asked City Manager Jim Couch to include possible expansion of METRO Transit bus routes to the proposed new Greyhound terminal in a study on the city's bus service to be organized over the next few months.
METRO Transit buses don't serve the intersection of Reno and Martin Luther King with current routes, but Shadid and others said it should be a priority to change that.