Frequent Greyhound rider Renee Ryan, left, of Edmonton and her grandmother Pat Ryan, centre left, sit on the benches inside the Greyhound bus station in downtown Red Deer Tuesday evening. The elder Ryan says the plan to move the Greyhound bus depot to Gasoline Alley in the New Year is unfortunate. “It will be very inconvenient” she said. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Greyhound leaving downtown

Greyhound Canada is going to move its Red Deer terminal to Gasoline Alley in the New Year.

Greyhound Canada is on the move in Red Deer.

The bus company plans to move its terminal from downtown Red Deer to the east side of Gasoline Alley.

Greyhound regional vice-president Peter Hamel said the company has had its eye on a highway location for years.

“The footprint in downtown Red Deer doesn’t fit the business anymore,” said Hamel, who was at Red Deer County’s Tuesday municipal planning commission meeting to present the project.

“We’ve been trying for 15 years to get to Gasoline Alley. It’s always been a perfect fit for Greyhound.”

Greyhound found an ideal location in what was a convenience store run by UFA on the east side of the highway between McDonald’s and Burger Baron restaurants. The area is served by the county and city transit service.

It shaves kilometres and travel minutes off the Edmonton-to-Calgary route now that buses won’t have to negotiate city streets, said Hamel.

“This just allows us to streamline our business right on Gasoline Alley and cut, probably, 25 minutes off of the schedule.”

Ridership has been down recently because of the economic slump, but Greyhound has not been spinning its wheels.

“We’re very quick to respond,” he said. “We’ve got a new terminal in Edmonton at the VIA rail station.

“We’re working on a new facility in Calgary and this is just part of the continued move to right-size the business and to make sure that revenues exceed costs.”

The county’s municipal planning commission unanimously approved a development permit for the project.

If all goes well, buses could be running out of the new terminal just after the New Year, he said.

It will serve an estimated 50,000 riders a year, who come to or leave from Red Deer. Another 80,000 passengers pass through as part of longer journeys.

The location at 41 Petrolia Drive is also more convenient for the line’s freight business. Many of those customers are already in Gasoline Alley.

Greyhound’s downtown terminal will be put up for sale.

Mayor Jim Wood said the county has invested significantly in Gasoline Alley and it is paying off.

“What Gasoline Alley is in fact doing is it is keeping taxes low throughout our entire county. It’s helping subsidize the taxes residents are paying and farmers are paying.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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