INDIANAPOLIS — Tyreese Falkner just got off a bus from Bloomington on his way to Fort Wayne when he stepped out of the Greyhound bus station in downtown Indianapolis.
”Just filthy, nasty, need to be cleaned up, remodeled, do something special,” he said. ”It looks like everybody in the world ignored it.”
Indeed, its likely been decades since the bus station at Union Station has seen a significant upgrade.
”The front doors are a mess. They’re often broken. Quite often they’re locked and not accessible. The waiting room is just generally drab and rundown and the restrooms are really abysmal,” said Doug Yerkeson of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance. ”You’re usually greeted with people sleeping on the floor, dirty restrooms and just an unwelcoming environment.”
In the last month, IMPD has made nearly one hundred runs to the bus station at 350 South Illinois Street, typically for disturbances or trouble with a person.
Amtrak’s Cardinal service linking New York City with Chicago passes through the station three days a week while Greyhound buses come and go every day around the clock.
”A major overhaul is necessary,” said Yerkeson who occasionally disembarks the Cardinal after midnight and takes stairs down from the rail platform to the waiting area one floor below where he claims security is non-existent. ”This is an economic development engine, it should be. This is really a gem in the rough that needs to be cleaned and polished….for a world class city to not have a station that portrays that image.”
By contrast, Indianapolis International Airport is consistently listed as one of the top rated air travel facilities in its class from around the world.
“There’s some concerns about American Disabilities Act accessibility given the limited access to the platform,” said Yerkeson who found that Crawfordsville and other cities across the country have successfully lobbied Amtrak for millions of dollars in train station upgrades. “The platform is above the waiting room and there’s one small elevator, most passengers have to drag their suitcases up steps.”
Three years ago the City spent $44,000 on improving lighting and air circulation and will seek bids later this month for $4 million in restroom renovations.
”It would be cool,” said Falkner, “not nasty, trifling, stanky, smelly, funky.”