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After 80 Years, San Diego’s Greyhound Terminal Moves

The Greyhound bus terminal — at 120 W. Broadway for the past 80 years — moved to 1313 National Avenue on November 14. Greyhound’s lease expired on October 1, so the company has leased a lot in the East Village from the Metropolitan Transit System.

At one time, the Broadway bus terminal had a small bar with about six seats, where a thirsty traveler could get a cold beer; that closed in the mid-1980s, along with the competing Trailways bus line located a block away.

First and Broadway eventually became a corner for people who were looking for something. Among them were beggars, pimps, drug dealers, runaways, undocumented immigrants, alcoholics, and junkies all trying to stay under the police radar. The Pickwick Hotel next door and its interesting Piccadilly bar could not be blamed for the earthy mixture: this melting pot was the result of people mixing once they got off the bus for what they hoped was a new life in San Diego.

By 2007, the Pickwick had morphed into the upscale Sofia Hotel. The downtown ballpark (Petco) started this “scrubbing”; the undesirables were being squeezed and are now being let off the bus about two blocks from San Diego’s biggest homeless shelter. St. Vincent de Paul is located at 1501 Imperial Avenue.

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The Greyhound bus terminal — at 120 W. Broadway for the past 80 years — moved to 1313 National Avenue on November 14. Greyhound’s lease expired on October 1, so the company has leased a lot in the East Village from the Metropolitan Transit System.

At one time, the Broadway bus terminal had a small bar with about six seats, where a thirsty traveler could get a cold beer; that closed in the mid-1980s, along with the competing Trailways bus line located a block away.

First and Broadway eventually became a corner for people who were looking for something. Among them were beggars, pimps, drug dealers, runaways, undocumented immigrants, alcoholics, and junkies all trying to stay under the police radar. The Pickwick Hotel next door and its interesting Piccadilly bar could not be blamed for the earthy mixture: this melting pot was the result of people mixing once they got off the bus for what they hoped was a new life in San Diego.

By 2007, the Pickwick had morphed into the upscale Sofia Hotel. The downtown ballpark (Petco) started this “scrubbing”; the undesirables were being squeezed and are now being let off the bus about two blocks from San Diego’s biggest homeless shelter. St. Vincent de Paul is located at 1501 Imperial Avenue.

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Comments
11
 What a negative viewpoint you have! If I hadn't passed through that bus terminal myself, and I only had your article as a guide, I'd think that only human trash had ever gone there. I agree with what you say about the beggars, pimps, and thieves, etc. that gathered there but that is true of any big-city downtown -- and those people are still there, though they may be hanging around a few blocks away.
 You poor thing, don't you ever get out and about? Not everyone who gets off a bus is coming to San Diego to start a new life... Your article is just silly, really. I am left wondering what in the heck you were trying to say when you wrote this article, besides showing your complete unawareness of what kinds of people are walking the streets downtown.
 Most of the people who are walking, driving, and taking buses downtown are just regular people who are passing through downtown; students, house-wives, clerks, etc. Not even The World's Finest City can support the hordes of losers and parasites that you describe.
 Please, take a walk. Go to Seaport Village, and when someone asks you for change, or a cigarette, ask them what they're doing, where they come from, etc. I'll bet that they're not an escaped-convict drunk pimp junkie thief. Not even two out of three! And then you can come back and write something worth reading.
Nov. 18, 2011

And: that bar was open in the late 1990's, too. I'll bet it was at least 1997 or 1998, possibly even later than that, before it was closed for good. It was a cool, tiny bar. I've seen other funky little bars like that, in other bus stations and elsewhere, across the country -- but that one was the tiniest of them all. Again: check your facts. (please.)

Nov. 18, 2011

"started this “scrubbing”; the undesirables were being squeezed and are now being let off the bus about two blocks from San Diego’s biggest homeless shelter."...........gee, all those who choose to take a bus, in your eyes, are rather undesirable?

Nov. 18, 2011

I thought it was "Enron by the Sea."

Nov. 19, 2011

Time flies! I remember driving downtown in 1980 in the early hours of morning to that bus station to pick up my brother who had been traveling for days -- by jam-packed trains and buses -- from southern Mexico to San Diego. He hadn't bathed in a week and looked and smelled just like the pilgrims described here. Ave atque vale!

Nov. 19, 2011

I respect those who use public transportation, regardless of their socio-economic status. You’ll find millionaires using the subways and buses in Manhattan. When I was in Mexico City recently, I used the local buses and the subway (3 pesos to go anywhere in the metro). Your characterization of people using Greyhound is condescending and debases your story.

Nov. 19, 2011

I rode the bus as an adult for 3 straight years in Lansing/East Lansing Michigan, got a student pass for $15 a month. Worked out real good for me. Was a pain when it snowed or rained, or was windy and cold out-and it got VERY cold, but I did enjoy it.

Nov. 20, 2011

On trips outside the US, we often depend upon trains and buses to get around. The public transportation systems in many of the more prosperous nations are really systems, not just an aggregation of competing media. In the US, though, I would not dream of trying to get around by either bus or train. Those Greyhound depots were never particularly pleasant places, and now are in crummy spots that attract plenty of people I'd rather not encounter. Blanket condescension is one thing, telling it like it is is another.

Nov. 20, 2011

I agree about bus trips. But I've taken the SD-LA Amtrak (business class), and it was a pleasant experience. I recommend it. Comfortable seats, free snacks and beverages served to you, bathroom is on the same level (no walking up and down stairs), and electrical outlets for charging devices. The train depot is nice to look at, clean and safe, and in a good section (close to Little Italy).

Nov. 21, 2011
 First I would like to thank the SDReader for even printing my story on the closing of the Greyhound terminal.  Second I would like to thank all the people who criticized and corrected my text.  A good way to learn is through constructive criticism – which I believe everyone was providing.
 My view (story) was not at all trying to be condescending at the time but on hindsight it comes off that way totally.  If only I could have had “Trooth” proofread it over a beer at the old Greyhound bar.  The story was typed out hastily after I discover that the terminal had closed.  The slant comes from me being a San Diego cabdriver familiar (but obviously not familiar enough) with that area and the fact of where the terminal was moved.  The cynic in me reared its ugly head and I typed it out with that state of mind.  I apologize if I slurred any user of public transportation.  My only wish is that you, the watchdogs, keep up the good work.  Sincerely joe
Nov. 20, 2011

80 years of service to the city of San Diego, and all you can come up with are 4 trite paragraphs? - So much history ignored. How very sad.

March 6, 2014

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