ITHACA, N.Y. — In a joint report from 14850.com and the Ithaca Times, the operators of the Ithaca bus depot, the main station for regional services, have announced that the Greyhound bus station will be shutting down.

The bus station at 710 West State Street is leased from its owner, Tompkins Trust Company, who purchased the 2,200 square-foot station in the 1990s. It is shutting down not because of a lack of business, but because the station operators, David and Brenda Wallace, are retiring, and the bank does not want to continue using the space for a bus station.

City of Ithaca staff have long expressed interest in having a more modern and comfortable bus station in the heart of the city, and in the planning of Cayuga Green in the early 2000s, initial plans called for a new intermodal bus station to be located at the Green Street Garage. However, that plan was later dropped, and the transit hub that does exist on Green Street is heavily trafficked by TCAT.

Nevertheless, the city sees major potential upsides if a new intercity bus station were to come downtown at some point. The desired outcome would be that an increase in outside visitors would generate additional patronage of services and shops downtown, and that people coming in from outside the county would have easy access to TCAT  routes if they need to get to other parts of Ithaca and Tompkins County.

As noted in the report, “(w)ith no agent operating locally, and assuming no physical facility takes the place of the Ithaca terminal, bus service will likely function from the curb in some area of the city,” not unlike what the Big Red Bullet and Cornell Campus-to-Campus services already do. No future bus stop locations for the Chenango Valley Bus Lines, Greyhound Lines, ShortLine Coach USA and Trailways of New York bus lines have been declared at this time.

As for the West End station, it’s the end of an era. Before it was a bus station, it was primarily a passenger train station, and as early as the 1840s it was the site of a stationhouse for steam locomotives, its relatively flat topography minimizing the wear and tear of going uphill and downhill.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.