Ceremony marks Danville-to-Chicago bus service

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr., center, cut the ribbon at a ceremony Thursday morning for the Danville-to-Chicago Greyhound bus service that started in January. Also pictured from left to right: Assistant Director of Lee-Ogle Transportation System Kari Wolfe, Illinois Department of Transportation Section Chief of Transit Glenn Groesch, Danville Mass Transit Director Lisa Beith, Ward 3 Alderwoman Sherry Pickering, Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen, Danville Mass Transit Streets Supervisor Petro Poulos and Greyhound Driver Trainer Keith Cummings. Not pictured, but also present, was Greyhound Government Program Manager Lori Buzzerio.

DANVILLE – Ridership numbers might not be big yet, but Greyhound Government Program Manager Lori Buzzerio said “if you build it they will come.”

Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr., Danville Mass Transit, Greyhound and other officials participated in the Greyhound bus service ribbon-cutting Thursday morning at the Richard L. Brazda Bus Terminal, 101 N. Hazel St., Danville.

Greyhound began its Danville to Chicago service with one departure and one arrival each day at the downtown bus terminal in January.

The service line coming in and out of Danville makes stops at Champaign’s Illinois Terminal, Bloomington-Normal, Oglesby, Rochelle, Elgin, Rockford and Chicago.

Lee-Ogle Transporation System in Dixon is the grantee for the Illinois Department of Transportation grant for the intercity Greyhound Connect service route, said Danville Mass Transit Director Lisa Beith.

A Greyhound bus departs Danville's downtown Richard L. Brazda Bus Terminal about 11:35 a.m. and another arrives in Danville about 1:40 p.m. seven days a week.

Greyhound doesn’t pay DMT a user fee for the bus facility. DMT receives commission for ticket sales and also for parcels transported.

Beith said they can help people purchase and print Greyhound-Danville transit tickets online. There can be confusion with the Greyhound route operated by Burlington Trailways motor coach company that drops people off now on Lynch Road.

DMT receives 10 percent of ticket sale prices and 15 percent of parcel service prices such as if a vendor needed to get a car part or something to Danville or Chicago that day.

Officials didn’t have specific reports on usage so far. Tickets vary in price, such as depending on the day and amount of luggage.

Beith said their records indicate that DMT’s commission from ticket sales thus far is $183.48. That number doesn’t include September sales.

With parcel transports, Buzzario said they have all sorts of items transported on buses, with some of the more unusual items being corneas and fish.

“I think there’s a lot of benefits to having this Greyhound Connect Service,” Beith has said.

City officials first submitted letters of support to the Illinois Department of Transportation via Lee and Ogle counties for the possible bus service in October 2017.

“We didn’t know a lot about it at the time but we thought, you know anything that would bring people to the area or ... provide the ability for us to use that transportation center down there in some other way are things that we wanted to look at doing," Beith previously has said.

Word is spreading about the service, officials said.

Greyhound officials commented on how the inside of the buses have changed. There are leather seats, free wifi, personal power outlets for electronics, cup holders and other amenities.

Buzzerio said they want passengers to feel at home when they travel.

“This is really exciting for the community,” Williams said.

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