Area bus station spared as Greyhound makes cuts

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2005

Despite streamlining efforts in other parts of the state, theBrookhaven contract agent for Greyhound Bus Line said Wednesday itwill continue to serve Homeseekers’ Paradise and surroundingareas.

“We’re going to stay open,” said Misti Crane, manager of Crane’s550 Grocery on Highway 550, where Greyhound makes four stops aday.

A Greyhound corporate spokeswoman told The Commercial Dispatchin Columbus the bus service in that city would be discontinued June21. Thirty-six of 69 stations in Mississippi are scheduled to closeas part of the streamlining plan.

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For the southwestern part of the state, flag stops are expectedto be maintained in Crystal Springs, Hazlehurst, Wesson and McComb.Passengers may board a bus at a flag stop, but may not actuallypurchase a ticket until they reach a station, such as Brookhaven orJackson.

Regarding ticketing, store owner Melba Crane said Greyhound isexpected to supply a new computerized ticketing system for thestore in August. Misti Crane said the system will allow forcomputerized tickets instead of completing tickets by hand.

“It’ll make it better for that,” Misti Crane said.

Melba Crane said the store owned by her and her husband, Glen,has been the bus location for Greyhound since 1989, when there wereeight bus stops a day in Brookhaven. Now, four buses come througheach day, with northbound stops at 10:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. andsouthbound stops at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Cranes said an average of about 10 passengers a day boardthe bus locally. However, they indicated that number variesgreatly.

“On the holidays, it’s a lot of people traveling,” Misti Cranesaid.

The fact that Greyhound is keeping a station is Brookhaven waswelcome news for passengers waiting to board the bus Wednesday.

“I think it’s important to have one (here),” said JohnnieLittle, of Crystal Springs.

Little, 76, and his wife Mattie said they came to Brookhaven topurchase a ticket for a bus trip to New Orleans. Little said he didnot like lengthy trips or big-city traffic.

Greyhound’s streamlining efforts could impact any potentialdesires to relocate the bus service to a proposed multi-modalfacility downtown. When the facility was proposed under theprevious city administration, bus service was a component of theplan.

More recently, however, Mayor Bob Massengill said the board ofaldermen has not discussed pursuing Greyhound for the facility.Facility plans also have been scaled back to focus on train serviceand a timetable for construction has not been finalized.

“We’re still probably a year away from having a facility there,”Massengill said.

Melba Crane cited her store’s location as one possible reasonfor the Brookhaven service remaining. She mentioned Greyhoundconcerns about increased operational expense and bus driver hourswhen the multi-modal facility idea surfaced several years ago.

“They’ve got such a set schedule,” Crane said, adding she wouldnot be able to relocate downtown due to store obligations. “Theywant to stay as close to the interstate as they can.”