Limits number of stops for riders, part of national reorganization plan

By Gus Bode

A few months after Amtrak’s closing scare was resolved, another transportation blunder has hit Carbondale. Because of reduced routes, passengers leaving Carbondale on Greyhound bus services have a layover in Mount Vernon.

While Greyhound Lines Inc. has not cut services in Carbondale, they have limited the places buses travel from the city, which is a part of a national reorganization plan.

Greyhound, which operates about 2,000 buses across the country, has closed some stations and changed routes in the southwest and has slowly begun to do the same in the southeast. The number of buses traveling from Carbondale has already been decreased. There are four buses routes that stop in the city, with two going southbound and two going north.


“I used to have six schedules here everyday,” said Rachel Robinson, the Carbondale Greyhound Agent.

Agents independently run and sell ticket offices for Greyhound for commission. One hundred and seventy-four of those offices have been closed as a part of the company’s reconstruction.

The service has been in Carbondale for more than 50 years, said Rachel’s husband, Mark Robinson, who used to operate the Carbondale Greyhound office. Rachel has since taken over.

To further the problem, Rachel, who took over as the Carbondale independent Greyhound agent in 2000, said it was never meant to be a permanent job.

Now, with the possibility of attending graduate school next spring, she may be leaving.

Agents like Rachel run the majority of the company’s outlets, said Anna Folmnsbee, Greyhound spokeswoman.

“We could look for another agent,” Folmnsbee said. “They’ll evaluate the situation and go for there.”


If the company does not find someone else to run the bus service in Carbondale, the stop may have to be changed or discontinued altogether.

People would not be able to buy tickets in the city anymore, Rachel said, if she decides to close her ticket sale outlet and Greyhound does not replace her. The stop could also be turned to a secondary type stop where riders could only be dropped off.

But Mark said Greyhound probably would not close the Carbondale station because it makes about $250,000 a year. He said the stop might have made a little less this year because the company has limited rider’s choices.

Other changes include the elimination of a route to Chicago without a layover. Instead riders must wait for two hours and 45 minutes in Mount Vernon before they board the bus taking them to Chicago.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought they’d start a bottle neck in Mount Vernon,” Rachel said about all the buses stopping for layovers in that city.

Also, the route no longer stops in Champaign. Students traveling from Champaign to Carbondale mostly take trains, Tom Corrington, a Greyhound ticket agent in Champaign, said.

While the Champaign Greyhound station still has multiple routes to Chicago, routes heading south have been cut, he said.

“That definitely hurts when they want to go down south,” Corrington said.

Reporter Destiny Remezas can be reached at [email protected]