KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Greyhound is changing how it does business across the country. The private bus line moved its Knoxville location three times in 2022, and could soon move again.
10Investigates requested months of emails between Greyhound and city leaders to get a firsthand look at the ongoing negotiations.
"Greyhound customers/the community is accustomed to decades of service at Greyhound facilities offering amenities," wrote Ed Weatherford, Greyhound's regional real estate manager on April 29. "The [reality] is Greyhound can no longer economically provide those amenities."
That's why Greyhound sold its longtime Knoxville station in March 2022.
It began operating outside of a gas station on Cherry Street in April 2022.
It moved to a market and deli that wasn't properly zoned in October 2022.
It's been operating out of the Knoxville Area Transit Superstop on Kirkwood Street since November 2022.
"Greyhound’s use of the Kirkwood Superstop has triggered a fresh wave of questions – and frustration—from the public and elected officials, and created operational challenges for our KAT buses," wrote Erin Gill, Knoxville's chief policy offer and deputy to the mayor, on Nov. 29. "I would like to understand Greyhound’s plans and whether you are still seeking a more appropriate location."
One possible solution could be Knoxville College, Gill wrote. It's zoned for "institutional" use, which is the same as the transit center.
"According to our Councilmember, they are interested in exploring a partnership— have you heard from them directly?" Gill wrote on Dec. 12. "To be successful, this location would need some pre-work to establish some buy-in from the neighbors. Knoxville College is very keen on a good neighbor."
Adam Manlove, the regional vice president from Greyhound, responded.
"We have Tyrone on the ground [Dec. 13] and he will be exploring the Market, Knoxville College and our operational impact," Manlove wrote. "We hope to gain some insight today we can share with you this week to move forward with a long term solution."
As of Jan. 9, Greyhound was still operating from the Kirkwood Superstop in the Burlington neighborhood.
"There is no place for them to use the restroom. There is no place for them to stay warm. This is a crisis in our city," said Cynthia J. Finch, who works in the Burlington neighborhood. "It is not a bus station, because the word station means there's a building of some sorts. This is the Burlington neighborhood."
Greyhound told the city it serves 40,000 passengers a year in Knoxville, many of whom have "no other means of affordable intercity transportation."
On November 16, its director of operations support and food service, Greg Grafeman, told the city it needed help.
"I am pleading that you or someone from your office intervene and help us find a suitable location either on a temporary basis or until we secure a permanent location," Grafeman wrote. "I hope you understand that Greyhound wants to serve the citizens of Knoxville with a safe and pleasant travel experience."