Union Bus Station, point of destination for Greyhound and Jefferson Bus Lines for the past 73 years, is set to close with operations moving to a new terminal just east of Bricktown.
Dignitaries with Greyhound, joined by city council members John Pettis and Meg Salyer, gathered Monday to show off the new terminal at 1948 E Reno, about two miles east of the Union Bus Station, 427 W Sheridan.
From the new location, Greyhound will offer 20 daily routes to destinations including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, St. Louis and Wichita, Kan. The new station will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is expected to open Thursday.
Chris Boardman, director of operations, said the new station was planned in cooperation with city officials. The building was abandoned for several years, and is visible from the Martin Luther King Avenue exit from Interstate 40.
The highway exit also will be a key access to the future Native American Cultural Center.
“This represents a commitment for Greyhound to still operate in Oklahoma City,” Boardman said. “It's part of our commitment to the citizens of Oklahoma City and surrounding communities.”
Boardman said the Union Station, which was bought last year for $2 million by developer Nicholas Preftakes, is no longer a good fit for modern bus travel. Preftakes could not be reached for comment Monday about the Union Bus Station, but he previously told The Oklahoman he will not tear the building down.
The Union Bus Station is considered by many to be an Art Deco landmark. But many also have seen its operations as an increasingly bad fit for the changing neighborhood. A new elementary school is being built across the street, while a revamped Myriad Gardens is attracting far more families to the area on a daily basis.
Cross-country travel by bus was overtaking rail transit when Union Bus Station opened in 1940. Five bus operators, including Greyhound, agreed to each take a 20 percent interest in building the station and jointly operating it instead of each running its own terminal. When the station first opened, it served 80 buses a day.
Greyhound last year carried about 75,000 passengers to its Oklahoma City station.
“Our business has changed, our schedules are a lot faster, our needs have changed a lot, and this serves our needs a lot better,” Boardman said.
Pettis said he hopes the station will help spur more redevelopment of the immediate area, which includes several motels, two truck stops, and several aging industrial sites.
Ward Hall, who owns the property and built the station, said he shares that goal.
“We are honored to have partnered with a great company like Greyhound to provide both meaningful revitalization and improved transportation to the downtown area,” Hall said. “As lifelong residents of Oklahoma City, it is always our privilege to make a neglected property useful again.”
At a Glance
Top 10 busiest terminals
Greyhound's busiest terminals based on passenger volume in 2010.
3. Atlantic City, N.J.
5. Los Angeles
7. Washington, D.C.