Montclair Adds Greyhound Bus Lines to Its Transit Center – Daily Bulletin

After allegations that Greyhound attracts a serious criminal element were proven false, Montclair City Council this week approved a contract that allows long-distance bus service to operate at the Montclair TransCenter.

By a vote of 4 to 1, the board on Monday, Dec. 20 awarded Greyhound Lines a five-year contract to operate 11 daily trips from the multimodal transit depot in North Montclair beginning March 1, 2022. Greyhound will sell tickets at the TransCenter and operate service to various destinations, including New York and Dallas.

The majority of council welcomed the addition, with Councilman Ben Lopez opposing it.

Greyhound will move its operations from Claremont Greyhound Depot, at 888 Indian Hill Blvd., to the Montclair TransCenter at 5060 Richton St. But last month, the contract was in jeopardy and a vote postponed when Lopez gave an oral presentation of a report that he received from a lieutenant with the Claremont Police Department, indicating that the department had received 236 calls regarding the deposition from January 1, 2020 to November 15, 2021.

Lopez listed calls recorded for prostitution, auto theft and drug-related crimes. He strongly opposed the contract in Montclair, saying it would bring in a criminal element and overburden the police and fire the city’s first responders.

But at Monday’s meeting, after consulting with the Claremont police chief, city officials said only seven of those calls were related to criminal activity at the Claremont depot. Montclair City Manager Edward Starr said Lopez’s information was misinterpreted and Claremont did not intend to present Greyhound as a magnet for criminal activity.

For the bulk of calls on the Claremont report, police and citizens use the Claremont Greyhound Depot as a landmark when reporting crimes at nearby motels, convenience stores and liquor stores, Robert Avels said. , Montclair Police Chief and City Executive Director. Public Security Bureau. He said more than 500 Claremont police calls were made to a business near the Indian Hill Boulevard depot and more than 1,000 to another nearby business.

“What was actually connected to Greyhound (in Claremont) is very tiny,” Avels told the Montclair council. “I have no problem bringing Greyhound to the (Montclair) area.”

The seven Greyhound-related calls in Claremont included one for graffiti, one for trespassing and a few for an assessment of someone’s mental health, while a car theft report was made at the Indian Hill depot Boulevard out of courtesy, but the crime wasn’t committed. get there, Avels said.

Lopez said he was still concerned about the number of calls in Claremont and thought it could happen in Montclair. He also raised the issue of releasing former inmates from jails and neighboring jails to the Claremont depot, saying those bus customers will now come to Montclair.

“I think we’ll have an increased concentration of those calls at the TransCenter with Greyhound,” he said. “I don’t think we need this component at Montclair.”

Avels said releasing inmates to ride a bus is not unusual and said inmate releases have taken place over the past two decades at the TransCenter without incident. He said the Claremont police chief recalled only one incident in his entire career in the city in which a released inmate caused trouble by being arrested for public intoxication.

“I don’t really see a major problem with it,” Avels said, answering Lopez’s questions.

Members of the public and council who spoke in favor of the addition of Greyhound, a first for the city’s transit hub, said many low-income residents did not drive or fly and would use the service.

“It’s the only way for a lot of families to travel,” Councilman Bill Ruh said.

The Montclair TransCenter is jointly owned by the city, Caltrans and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, and the latter two agencies support Greyhound, Starr reported. The Transit Center also serves Omnitrans, a San Bernardino Valley bus service; Foothill Transit, a bus agency serving San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties; Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) with bus service to downtown Riverside; and Metrolink, a commuter rail service. The private Flix bus serves Las Vegas from the adjacent Montclair Square. FlixMobility, the parent company of FlixBus USA, acquired Greyhound on October 21, 2021.

Under the terms of the new contract, Greyhound would share a bus bay with Omnitrans, pay the city of Montclair $1,800 in rent per month, and compensate the city. It would also contribute $25,000 towards a self-cleaning toilet at the transit center.

Robert Pipersky, who ran against Lopez in November 2020 and lost, called Lopez’s remarks anti-minority and racist and said at the meeting that the board should not have delayed the vote in November.

“The optics certainly smacks of racism, denying minorities the ability to travel safely from Montclair to all points in the United States,” Pipersky said in a public comment.

Lopez denied the allegation, saying he was only concerned about the crime and the overburdened Montclair Police Department.

“By no means has it ever been a skin color issue. I myself am a minority. I don’t look at things through racially tinted colored glasses,” Lopez replied.

Mayor John Dutrey said every member of council should be aware that what they say at public meetings can have repercussions. He said a member of the Claremont City Council called him and was very upset after reading what Lopez had said in a previous article carried by this news agency.

“It is very important that we have good relations with neighboring towns,” Dutrey said.