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City criticizes Greyhound's choice for new East Knoxville stop

The carrier has been in search of a regular, proper stop for months. It previously used two convenience stores.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Greyhound's new makeshift bus stop in East Knoxville is drawing rebuke from the city of Knoxville.

This week, the bus carrier began using a stop identified as 100-110 Kirkwood St. That location is near the intersection of Kirkwood and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue near the Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church, a barber shop, and several vacant buildings.

It includes a KAT bus stop.

This week a man was dropped off by a friend and was very disappointed by the conditions of the so-called bus stop. 

"And you know, it was kind of a confusing moment because, you know, I was in the middle of somewhere I didn't know where I was at," said Marcus Taylor.

Taylor was a passenger headed to Nashville. He said he paid $107 for his ticket and believed not having a proper bus station was terrible customer service. 

"Yes, this is unacceptable," he said. "You need to treat your customers better than this."

For a few hours, Taylor waited at a local coffee shop on magnolia avenue until they closed. Taylor is not the only person in Knoxville who had this experience, and community advocates are frustrated. 

"It's cold, there is no inside space for them to go into, and all it is is a KAT -cover bus stop," said Cynthia Finch, a community advocate. 

City council member Gwen McKenzie says officials are working to resolve this ongoing issue. 

"Are we disappointed with the actions of Greyhound to this point? Absolutely," said McKenzie. So what we've learned today is that there is a local contact here for Greyhound, who told us that she had been diligently working on getting a location."  

Credit: WBIR
Greyhound began using the new stop this week.

Greyhound faced a Monday deadline to find a new stop in Knoxville after the city said it was against city zoning ordinances for it to use a market at Sixth Avenue and Grainger Avenue as a stop.

On Wednesday, the city released a statement from Erin Gill, deputy to Mayor Indya Kincannon and the city's chief policy officer, about the new Greyhound stop.

It reads: "Greyhound has not sought the city’s permission to use either the public roadway or the Kirkwood Superstop to support their private bus operations.

"It’s Greyhound’s responsibility to provide their passengers with a secure, sanitary, and sheltered experience. Unfortunately, the company has yet again failed to provide their customers with basic amenities while they wait for a bus to arrive."

WBIR was awaiting a statement from Greyhound in response to the city.

Earlier this year the bus line's classic station on Magnolia Avenue was sold for future development.

Greyhound then switched to using a Marathon gas station on Cherry Street as its pickup and dropoff point. That's what customers saw on an interactive map when they purchased tickets on the Greyhound website.

Credit: WBIR
The new Greyhound stop at night.

Members of the public and city councilmembers, however, said they were concerned about the stop location, a mainly industrial area near railroad tracks that shut down around 10 or 11 p.m. each night. It was open and exposed with no access to a bathroom.

Customers stood outside in the parking lot or by the gas station waiting for a bus.

In early October, Greyhound switched to the market at Sixth Avenue and Grainger Avenue. Soon, however, the city gave the property owner notice that he couldn't let Greyhound use his property under existing zoning.

The city gave the property owner and Greyhound until the close of business Monday to find a new spot, which led to the carrier picking the Kirkwood Street location.

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