KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville leaders said they were working with Greyhound to find a better drop-off and pickup location in the city.
The Greyhound station in Knoxville, off Magnolia Avenue, was recently sold and the company moved its bus stop to a location near a gas station on Cherry Street. Riders and residents spoke out against the decision.
"There's no electricity. There are no chairs. There's no shelter that would keep you safe from rain," community member Elsa Nownes said. "I would love for Greyhound to move this station — this stop — to a place that had electricity, had shelter, had some sort of security, or even KPD that routinely came by."
The Knoxville Police Department said they've responded to three incidents at 1324 Cherry Street in the last three months. One was a vehicle theft, another was theft from a truck bed and the third was an unrelated traffic stop.
Officers are conducting property watches, but don't have the personnel to patrol the gas station 24/7. Plus, the new stop is located on private property.
Some people said the location was not safe, while others said there was no place to rest while waiting for a bus. City leaders started working with Greyhound to find a better location for a bus stop in April.
But since the company can legally load and unload riders at the Cherry Street location, city leaders said they could not require Greyhound to change the bus stop. They said city infrastructure in the area, including lighting and pavement, was not in need of repairs.
In a letter sent to city council members on Tuesday, officials said they recommended Greyhound establish a service location at a business that operates 24 hours per day.
"We have provided recommendations and information Greyhound needs to help them find a more appropriate location for pick-up and drop-off to better serve the Knoxville community," they said in the letter.
They also offered to sign a lease with Greyhound that would allow them to use the Knoxville Area Transit center, or a KAT super stop, during nighttime hours. They said Greyhound showed interest in the proposal.
The city and KAT were working to prepare terms for the lease, according to the letter. Those included financial and operating requirements.
"Enacting an arrangement for private use of a public facility will require adequate time and due diligence to ensure compliance with procurement processes, and will have to be approved by City Council," they said in the letter.
They also warned that using the transit center at night would not address riders' needs during the day when KAT buses run. So, they said they would continue encouraging Greyhound to find a different location for their bus stop.
The letter also said the Knoxville Police Department was aware of the location Greyhound is using as a bus stop, and said officers were checking on the area as part of their routine patrols.