Originally created 05/26/05

Bus line pulls out of Augusta



Faster trips and fewer stops.

Those are the reasons why Greyhound Lines Inc. says it will stop offering service to Augusta's downtown bus station, effective June 21.

The company has eliminated its route from Greenville, S.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., which includes a stop in Augusta and Wrens, Greyhound spokeswoman Kim Plaskett said.

The route did not have enough customers to sustain it, she said.

The company informed Mayor Bob Young of the change in a letter dated Friday, saying that Southeastern Stages Inc. will still provide service at the Greene Street bus station.

Southeastern Stages is a "pooling partner" of Greyhound, which in some cases allows customers to purchase a ticket through one company and ride the other company's bus, Ms. Plaskett said.

Augusta's downtown bus station is one of 46 Greyhound sales locations in Georgia and 260 across the country where the company is discontinuing services, she said.

Because 75 percent of Greyhound's customers travel less than 450 miles, the company hopes to reduce the number of stops and make trips faster by eliminating unprofitable routes or service stops, she said.

Patrons won't see a huge change, Ms. Plaskett said.

"The only change is that the bus they're riding on won't have a dog on the side of it," she said.

When the change becomes effective, the closest Greyhound sales location to Augusta will be at Fort Gordon. Aiken also has a Greyhound station, which is not affected by the closures.

"Where there will not be Greyhound service, a lot of these places will be within a short car ride of Greyhound," Ms. Plaskett said.

Other factors in the decision to discontinue service include poor outbound ticket sales and few passengers at each stop, Ms. Plaskett said.

Greyhound tickets will still be sold at the Augusta bus station because it connects with other Greyhound sales locations.

Waiting at the downtown station for a Greyhound bus to Savannah, Keierra Jackson, 19, said she was surprised to hear that the company had eliminated Augusta as a stop.

"Since I do ride Greyhound, I'm kind of upset, because I know nothing about other bus stations," said Ms. Jackson, who was returning to take summer classes at Armstrong Atlantic State University from her home in Athens, Ga.

Catching the same Greyhound bus to Savannah was Brandon Johnson, 22.

Although he said he preferred to ride Greyhound because he is familiar with the name, he is willing to take another bus line.

"Whatever comes to the door," Mr. Johnson said.

Staff Writer Krista Zilizi contributed to this story.

Reach Kate Lewis at (706) 823-3215 or kate.lewis@augustachronicle.com.

BUSES STOP

While travelers will no longer be able to ride Greyhound Line buses from the Augusta station beginning June 21, they can still travel on Southeastern Stages Inc. buses. Southeastern Stages offers a route from Atlanta to Fayetteville, N.C., that includes stops in Augusta, Aiken and Columbia.