September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Greyhound discontinues Elyria bus stop

ELYRIA — Greyhound Lines Inc., pulled out of Elyria after city officials said they asked the company to seek a safer location for the bus stop.

The decision to no longer pick up or drop off passengers on Lake Avenue took effect Aug. 1. That was less than a week after a woman waiting to board a bus to Wisconsin with her toddler son reported being robbed at gunpoint.

“It wasn’t something we wanted to do,” said Jen Biddinger, a Greyhound spokeswoman. “Usually when we discontinue service someplace it’s because of lack of use. In this case, the city contacted us and told us to stop operating out of that location due to safety concerns.”

Biddinger said there is still a chance of resuming service. The company is in talks with the city to reinstate service at another location.

Mayor Holly Brinda said she has long had concerns about the stop at 900 Lake Ave., but the mugging of a mother in daylight led her to contact the company.

“We do want Greyhound in Elyria,” she said. “We never asked them to stop service. But I had to express my concerns about the safety of that site. I think we can do better for the safety of our residents.”

The stop in question was in a mainly residential area, and it did not allow for anything but pick ups and drop offs. There was no restroom, shelter, place to purchase tickets or anywhere to wait, Brinda said.

“I think it’s important to provide the service to residents, but we have to make sure they are served in a safe way. Otherwise it leaves people very vulnerable,” she said.

The woman who was robbed told police she was waiting for the bus July 26. Her son needed to go the bathroom, so she turned her back to cover him while he urinated next to a curblawn tree.

A few seconds later, the woman said she felt cold metal against her back, which she thought was a handgun, and heard a man demand money. As she went to turn around, she saw a man she described as a black man with a medium complexion in his 20s standing in front of her holding a handgun.

The woman handed over a bank envelope containing $180, which the man took and ran off.

Biddinger did not release information about the number of riders that use the Elyria stop to determine the impact of the decision. The nearest location for pick-up and drop off now is in Cleveland.

Brinda said she will continue to talk to Greyhound about a possible new location.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.