ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Right in the center of one of the oldest parts of Albany sits a bunker disguised as a bus terminal.
Outside, years of neglect have allowed vegetation to reclaim the asphalt jungle around the terminal. Inside, only a handful of benches are available for passengers. Leaky ceilings and peeling paint show the terminal, which opened in the 1970s, has seen better days.
“It’s a bit dingy. It would be nice to have places to sit, maybe to charge a phone every once and a while,” says Jean Zarate, who occasionally travels to Albany from Manhattan. Zarate says her impression of Albany each time she steps off a bus is not a good one. She says she has seen improvements at other transportation hubs in the state and wonders why Albany’s bus station appears to be neglected? “When I would take the buses back in 1999 all the way up until I lived in Montreal to when I moved back home in 2009, this has not changed. The terminal has not changed.”
While the Albany International Airport has seen numerous million dollar renovations, including an upcoming $100 million upgrade, the Albany Bus Terminal has seen little to no upgrades since its opening nearly 50 years ago.
Like the buses operating out of it, the terminal could soon be departing. A feasibility study conducted by the Albany Parking Authority in partnership with CDTA is looking at an $81 million, seven story replacement for the current structure.
“Let’s upgrade the experience for customers. Let’s bring everything together, all the resources so that people have a great place to wait, to connect, and to move,” explains CDTA CEO Carm Basile. “At the same time, let’s create something that the region can be proud of. Whether you use it or not, it’s a gateway to the region. It’s another port of entry for people coming to the region so we want that first impression to be a good one.”
The new facility could have nearly 900 parking spaces; access to 30 CDTA routes along with the existing Greyhound and other inter-city services. No timeline has been set on when a new facility would be constructed. “The station sits on property owned by Greyhound and its parent company. So we don’t own it so until we own it’s pretty difficult to get something done so that’s what’s going on now,” says Basile.