WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Greyhound has officially launched bus service in and out of the newly renovated George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal.
The intercity bus service celebrated its grand opening Wednesday morning, becoming the first “long-haul carrier to serve the station” at 4211 Broadway since it opened in May.
The company is offering 10 daily trips with more times and cities being added in the future, said spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson. Six additional trips will be provided on the weekend, according to a release.
Gipson said residents previously had to travel to the Port Authority Bust Terminal on 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue to catch buses to cities such as Boston, Washington D.C., Hartford, Baltimore and Philadelphia, the destinations for buses currently departing from Washington Heights.
The first bus left the GWB Bus Terminal at approximately 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, she said.
“We’re going what we can to make sure the Washington Heights community gets the best experience possible,” Gipson said, noting the coaches' onboard entertainment options.
Greyhound COO Bill Blankenship said he was invited to walk around the neighborhood by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and the Port Authority more than a year ago in an effort to encourage the company's participation.
“Before I met him here, I walked the neighborhood. I was like, ‘Wow, this neighborhood is really cool. It’s vibrant. It's like a lot of energy,’” Blankenship said. “So when I met with Councilman Rodriguez, we walked and it was under construction. You remember the movie, 'Jerry Maguire,' when she said ‘She had me at hello’? I was there. We needed to get here and we made our commitment that day to come to this location.”
Residents last month spoke out against the George Washington Bridge Redevelopment Venture LLC — a private development company overseeing the long-delayed redevelopment of the half-century-old terminal in conjunction with the Port Authority — to demand the company and agency do more to connect local residents with jobs inside the bus terminal.
Diane Ehler, director of tunnels, bridges and terminals for the Port Authority, said the agency would host a job fair later this year, hoping it will be "the first step in connecting jobs moving forward with the bus carriers."
Blankenship said Greyhound recognizes the support of providing opportunities for locals and “looks forward to participating in the job fair.”
The terminal's first big-name store, Marshalls, opened its doors earlier this month.