Greyhound races out of town

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Greyhound Lines, Inc. has announced that it will cease all Greyhound stops in Atmore and 39 other cities in Alabama effective June 21.
According to information sent to city officials by Greyhound Director of Schedule planning M.K. Parnell, Evergreen, Atmore and Bay Minette will all lose their bus routes leaving the Mobile station as the nearest Greyhound stop.
"As I understand it, they are going to eliminate Atmore along with about 35 or 40 other cities in the state," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said. "It will certainly work an imposition on people that depend on pubic transportation. If it was only happening to Atmore we'd have a long leg to stand on, but they are cutting many routes in this state. I'm not sure what their reasoning is on eliminating stops."
According to Shell, the elimination of a Greyhound Bus stop in Atmore is just another blow to the city.
"It's just something else, a service that you would certainly like to be maintained in the area," Shell said. "You've got 35 or 40 cities here that are being affected. The biggest one I see on the list, Selma, is being eliminated also."
According to a representative from Greyhound the cutbacks are supposed to make the bus lines run more efficiently and provide a higher profit margin for the company.
"Financial results and customer feedback in the areas we restructured to date have favorably exceeded our expectations and significantly increased our revenue per mile," Stephen E. Gorman, president and CEO, Greyhound Lines, Inc. said. "This has given us the confidence to move quickly into other regions and create a network that will improve service for our customers and eliminate marginally profitable routes and schedules."
One question is how the loss of the Atmore's Greyhound stop will affect the local prisons. Typically if a prisoner is unable to arrange for transportation they will be driven to the nearest bus station and provided with a ticket.
"Yes the bus is one mode of transportation to the inmate," Brian Corbett, who handles transportation with the Alabama Department of Corrections, said. "More times than not the inmate is going to have a friend or family member that picks them up. If that doesn't happen then typically DOC will transport the prisoner to their area bus stop."
What if the nearest bus stop is out of the area?
"We would have to transport them to the next closest location I guess," Corbett said.
A local police officer would be required to transport the prisoner to Mobile. Corbett was unaware that the Greyhound Bus schedule would no longer service this area. According to him the bus company is not required to give that information to the Department of Corrections.
"These inmates who use the bus are just passengers like anyone else," Corbett said. "It's not a matter of a particular service they (Greyhound) provide(s) for the Department of Corrections."
According to Mayor Shell only 12 greyhound stations remain in Alabama and all are in major cities. Those stations are in Anniston, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Gadsden, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Opelika, Troy, Tuscaloosa and Tuskegee.
Greyhound is also stopping service in Alabama in Abbeville, Alexander City, Andalusia, Athens, Auburn, Bessemer, Camden, Centreville, Childersburg, Clanton, Cullman, Demopolis, Enterprise, Eufaula, Eutaw, Evergreen, Florence, Grove Hill, Hurtsboro, Jackson, Jasper, Lanett, Livingston, Marlon, Mount Vernon, Phenix City, Pine Hill, Selma, Sulligent, Sylacauga, Talladega, Thomasville, Union Springs, Uniontown, West Blocton, Winfield and York.

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