In 2022, Greyhound notified the Philadelphia Streets Department that it was ending its lease on the bus terminal at Filbert St. Their plan was to transition to strictly curbside pickup, competing with its budget competitors. The Streets Department, after failing to negotiate a new bus terminal option with Greyhound, acquiesced to the change and permitted Greyhound to pick up and park their buses on the 600 block of Market St on June 22nd, 2023.
By allowing this to happen, the Mayor and Streets Department created a "humanitarian disaster," as noted by The Philadelphia Inquirer's Inga Saffron.
Suitcases piled up on the street, no access to bathrooms, and travelers left exposed to the elements. By failing to hold Greyhound accountable to its riders, the city has risked the lives of thousands to heat waves, torrential rain, and Code Red air quality. The impacts are especially harsh on riders who are older or have disabilities.
Additionally, by loading on the freshly-painted red bus & bike lane on a busy stretch of Market Street, this practice worsens the already impacted local bus travel and endangers people traveling by bicycle.
Greyhound and its competitors should not be allowed to trade passenger safety for cost savings. Nor should they be allowed to clog up hard fought for SEPTA infrastructure or overburden bus drivers.
This could have been avoided. Since 2009, plans have existed for a municipal bus terminal outside 30th St Station.
New York, Boston, and Washington DC already have or are building this vital link, but Mayor Kenney and his predecessor chose to ignore the effort entirely.
We implore the mayor to take two steps in service of and for the safety of bus riders:
We charge the Mayor to instruct the Streets Department to deny curbside parking privileges for Greyhound and other intercity buses unless sufficient shelter is provided to every rider: That is shade, bathrooms, seating, air conditioning and heating.
Before the end of this term, we demand that the Mayor initiate the process of planning a bus terminal that requires inter-city bus companies to use. Smaller US cities successfully employ this model, and we cannot let this problem reach a third mayor.