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Greyhound passenger shocked by delays and deterioration at Cleveland station

Greyhound passenger shocked by delays and deterioration at Cleveland station

CLEVELAND – Tim Danforth is only expected to be in Cleveland for a few hours this week.

Instead, he found himself stranded at the downtown Greyhound station Monday — along with other passengers booked onto a Pittsburgh-bound bus.

During his long wait, Danforth was not impressed. He couldn’t find anyone to talk to about bus schedules. The floors were dirty. Most of the water fountains were not working.

“It almost looked like a setting for a post-apocalyptic TV show,” Danforth said.

Grime covers the floor of the Greyhound station in downtown Cleveland.

Andrew Benesh/News 5

Grime covers the floor of the Greyhound station in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday.

Across the country, Greyhound is leaving its historic stations. Here in Cleveland, the company is considering a move to a transit hub a few blocks east of its longtime home. But Danforth and other commuters say the local station already seems like an afterthought.

Tim Danforth talks about his bad experience with Greyhound.

News 5

Tim Danforth talks about his bad experience with Greyhound Tuesday from the company’s station in Pittsburgh.

They are shocked by the conditions in the building and frustrated by the customer service experience of a company they rely on to get around.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt so completely uncaring from a business entity that I’ve ever worked with in my life,” Danforth said by phone Tuesday, two days into his surprisingly long quest to return home to Sutton, West Virginia.

A Greyhound spokesperson said the company “is aware of an issue involving the delay of a bus from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.” In an emailed statement, it said passengers were informed of the delay via text message.

As for the station?

“While we do not own the building, Greyhound works to ensure the facility is cleaned throughout the day,” the spokesperson wrote.

It is true that Greyhound is not the owner. But the company leases the property and is responsible for its upkeep, according to the owner, an affiliate of Playhouse Square.

A passenger waits to board a bus at the Greyhound station in downtown Cleveland.

Andrew Benesh/News 5

A passenger waits to board a bus at the Greyhound station in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon, Tamara Martin was waiting in the station hall. She was traveling from Louisville, Kentucky, to Lorain for a high school reunion.

“I walked in and I was like, ‘Oh my God, are they closing?’ “, she said.

Most of the vending machines have disappeared. The same goes for multiple toilet seats in women’s restrooms.

“It’s horrible,” Martin said. “They don’t even have toilet paper.”

His next bus to Elyria was two hours late. Instead, she called for someone to accompany her.

“I’m going home on the 24th,” Martin said. “And I’m not going anywhere near here.”

“At this point, it’s just funny.”

Danforth and his partner, Erin, made the trip to Cleveland to take care of some legal paperwork downtown.

It took them three buses to get here from their small town in West Virginia. They arrived around 3:30 a.m. Monday morning and were scheduled to leave shortly after noon the same day.

But Danforth said their bus never boarded. Instead, passengers waited for hours.

“One man I spoke to was missing his son’s graduation,” Danforth said. “Which is heartbreaking. It’s a terrible thing to miss, and a terrible reason to miss it.

He said there have been no announcements about buses. Most of the overhead lights were off. Some passengers gave up and left. Others continued to call the company for help.

“It was like nightmares were piling on top of each other,” he said. “The longer we sat there, the more I started to notice that the building was collapsing from the inside out.”

After more than 12 hours, a group of travelers decided to split the cost of an Uber to Pittsburgh. Danforth and his partner joined us.

But they are still not at home. By Wednesday afternoon, the couple had arrived as far as Bridgeport, West Virginia. They still had to catch a local bus to Sutton – and the service was limited due to the Juneteenth holiday.

“Honestly at this point it’s just funny,” Danforth wrote in a text message. “Like, in a cartoonish way.”

He has no plans to ride Greyhound again anytime soon. If he does, he’ll avoid Cleveland.

“If you can get off at another station, do so,” he said.

Passengers wait inside the Greyhound station in downtown Cleveland.

Andrew Benesh/News 5

Passengers wait inside the Greyhound station in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday.

“Their new base of operations”

It’s unclear when Greyhound will leave the Art Deco depot on Chester Avenue.

And Playhouse Square, which purchased the property in April, has not said what it plans to do with the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We are committed to working with Greyhound and the City of Cleveland for a smooth and successful transition to their new base of operations, whenever that may be,” Cindi Szymanski, a spokesperson for Playhouse Square, wrote in an email.

Greyhound is required to give 30 days notice before departure. Playhouse Square received no such notification, Szymanski said.

The company and Barons Bus, which also uses the station, are talking with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and Cleveland State University about moving to the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center at East 21st Street and Prospect Avenue.

But an RTA spokesperson said it was not a done deal.

“No decision has been made at this time,” he wrote in an email Wednesday.

The Greyhound spokesperson echoed this. He said the company was still working with other organizations “to find a workable solution”.