After 31 years of service and providing transportation for countless students and community members in and around the area, the city of Grambling’s Greyhound has closed and will not be reopening.
Greyhound had to make a choice between Grambling’s bus station and the Greyhound station in Ruston, which is a larger city with more customers. They decided to keep the Ruston station.
“I was running this bus station as a token to help these kids out,” said Johnny Gray, the owner and operator of the now closed bus station. Gray says that between 80 to 85 percent of his customers are college students, and they will now have to look elsewhere for transportation.
“It’s not fair,” said Kevin Keise, a 2014 Grambling State University graduate who used the bus station often. “I feel disappointed, but I don’t know who to be disappointed in.”
Thursday Oct. 30 is when Gray found out that his station was closing.
Several students called Grambling Greyhound and spoke to Gray about having troubles purchasing tickets leaving from the Grambling station. Initially Gray, believed his computer was the cause, which prompted him to call the Greyhound help desk, in Dallas. When they told him that he had no computer troubles, Gray then called his supervisor, whom let him know the decision the company made.
“I wasn’t even accommodated,” said Gray, who had owned the station for over 30 years.
Although he was given no reason for his station closing other than the company wanting to keep the Ruston station, Gray believes there are other factors that contribute to the closing. Low enrollment at the university, cheaper purchasing options from different vendors and others are some of those reasons.
“They made it more accessible, price wise, to go other places and buy tickets,” said Gray, “So naturally my volume of sales are going to drop.”
Greyhound tickets can be purchased for a cheaper price via the Internet rather than physically walking into the bus station and purchasing a ticket. Also stores like Ace Cash Express in Ruston also sell bus tickets at cheaper prices than those tickets sold in the station.
Grambling Greyhound was convenient because the station is located in the front of campus.
“It’s going to be a problem for students without wheels,” said David Hodges, a GSU English professor who teaches humanities.
As for students, the office of transportation at GSU is currently making accommodations. In a interview with the Director of Transportation Victoria White, she stated that students are able to submit their travel itineraries to the office either in person or via email then the itineraries will be given to the bus drivers and so on.
“Fliers are posted different places around campus that alert students about the shuttle times,” said White, a senior psychology and sociology major from Shreveport.
Although Greyhound is physically gone, Gray still owns Gray’s Insurance and Western Union out of the same building. Gray, as well as others, reflects on the lasting effects of the closing.
“Now I have try and find another way to get home,” said Lloyd Glass, a 21-year-old engineering technology major from Chicago. “The Greyhound was what I used to travel home for the holidays.”
“I was lucky to get this property right here on this corner,” expressed Gray, a Southern University graduate of 1968 and Grambling native. “People could get off the bus right on this corner, in the front of campus, and walk anywhere.”
He reminisced on the times when he would send and receive game films for Eddie G. Robinson’s great football teams via the Greyhound lines. Gray also remembers how just a couple of years ago, Greyhound would have to send several busses just to accommodate the large number of Grambling State University students traveling during the holidays.
“I gave it all I had,” said a dissatisfied Gray. “I even came out of pocket sometimes just to help students get on their way.”
In the 31 years Grambling Greyhound existed, Gray says he is grateful for the opportunities he has had to help others with their travels via Greyhound.