Greyhound ends service to Duluth

DULUTH - After nearly a century of service in Duluth, the iconic running-dog buses will high-tail it out of town for the last time next week when Greyhound Bus Co. ends service to the Twin Ports.

DULUTH - After nearly a century of service in Duluth, the iconic running-dog buses will high-tail it out of town for the last time next week when Greyhound Bus Co. ends service to the Twin Ports.

Jefferson Lines will take over Greyhound's depot at 4426 Grand Ave. and use it as one of its daily pickup and drop-off stops in the city, Jefferson spokeswoman Bonnie Buchanan said.

Greyhound was founded in Hibbing in 1914 and has operated in Duluth since 1915.

Greyhound was down to one round-trip between Duluth and Minneapolis when the decision was made to pull out, company spokesman Tim Stokes told the News Tribune.

"We evaluate our routes every year, and that was one (route) where ridership was down for us," Stokes said. "But people still can connect to our system directly through Jefferson."


Mike Marconett, assistant director of the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing, called Greyhound's departure "a sad sign of the times."

"That means they won't have any presence north of Minneapolis in any of the original territory,' he said. "It seems Greyhound can only make it work in the big cities now."

Jefferson will continue to operate three round-trip buses out of Duluth each day with stops at the airport, the University of Minnesota Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica, as well as the West Duluth site, starting Monday, Buchanan said. Greyhound's last day of service to Duluth will be Tuesday.

In addition, Jefferson will offer new daily service between Duluth, Superior and Eau Claire, Wis., starting June 1, with stops in several cities along the U.S. Highway 53 route. And Indian Trails Motor Coach will extend its route from the Upper Peninsula across northern Wisconsin into Duluth, using Jefferson's depot, probably starting in July, Buchanan said.

"Duluth is a great market for us. We're seeing growing business up there," she said, adding that ridership is at its highest since the company started serving the city in 2004.

While Greyhound is focusing more on larger markets, Jefferson continues to thrive by serving small towns, Buchanan said.

Jefferson began service between Minneapolis and Duluth in 2004. In 2005, the company added college campus service in Duluth. In 2010, Jefferson expanded service on the Minneapolis-to-Duluth corridor to three daily round trips and introduced its "Rocket Rider" service with free Wi-Fi, satellite radio, movies, individual headsets and expanded leg room.

"With high gasoline prices and traffic congestion in the Twin Cities," more people are choosing to ride the bus, said Charlie Zelle, president and CEO of Jefferson Lines, in announcing the changes.


Jefferson offers six scheduled stops in the Twin Cities, including Hawthorne Transportation Center in Minneapolis next to Target Field, the Greyhound Bus Terminal in St. Paul, Burnsville Transit Center, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Mall of America and the University of Minnesota campus.

Family-owned, Minneapolis-based Jefferson Lines has been in business for 91 years. The company serves 170 cities in 13 mid-continent states, including 66 cities in Minnesota, Buchanan said.

Each day Jefferson Lines buses drive 7,179 miles in Minnesota, with annual mileage of more than 2.6 million.

Jefferson's non-refundable fares generally are $29 each way between Duluth and Minneapolis. The company has been criticized by a competing transportation shuttle business for taking state and federal subsidies for its operations in Minnesota.


Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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