Greyhound long gone, and has been

For a city that is forever discussing alternatives to automobile dependency, few seem to have noticed that one of those alternatives has long since left town.

Last month, the city's Greyhound bus stop, located at Mr. C's convenience store just north of Ashland, closed as the property's owner prepares to demolish the building. But the bus stop had closed long before.

It was Aug. 18, 2004, when Greyhound Lines, the largest intercity bus service in the U.S., closed its station in front of Mr. C's.

"Greyhound started abandoning small towns across America, and Ashland was one of them," said an employee, declining to offer her name, at Medford's Greyhound office.

Anna Folmnsbee, a Greyhound spokeswoman, said the stop was abandoned in a nationwide effort to cut costs.

"We found we were operating a lot of locations that didn't have the demand to supply our locations," she said. " eliminating them we helped the bottom line of the company. We helped the company stay in business."

Between 2004 and 2006, Greyhound closed more than 1,000 bus stops across the country, deciding to focus more on bigger cities, such as Medford, that can act as hubs for the smaller towns, such as Ashland. She said a customer survey indicated that people wanted quicker service rather than more stops.

In 2003, the Greyhound bus station in Ashland serviced "just about 2,000 people," Folmnsbee said.

Conversely, the Medford stop in 2006, the only remaining Greyhound bus stop in Jackson County, serviced 309,000 people. South of Ashland, the closest stop is Weed, Calif.

Folmnsbee said Greyhound has no plans in the near future to reinstate the stop in Ashland.

"The route restructuring worked," she said. "We did what we needed to do."

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