You can now catch the Greyhound bus at the Lawrence Public Library — and if you aren't careful, you can leave with a parking ticket too.
A transitional week for the Greyhound bus service began earlier this week, and city officials also began issuing parking tickets for motorists who don't take note of the new bus lane.
The Greyhound bus service, which makes three stops daily in Lawrence, began stopping at the library Monday. Until March 20, the bus line will also continue to pick up riders at its old stop, located at the city right-of-way at East Sixth and New Hampshire streets.
Apart from the parking tickets, Library Director Brad Allen said it has been business as usual thus far.
“A small amount of people get off and pick it up,” Allen said. “And it’s good to have it located downtown for people to wait around. If they want to wait here, great.”
Four metered parking spots were removed from Seventh Street in the block immediately north of the library to accommodate the stop, and the bus lane is now closed to parking at all times. The fee for parking in a no parking zone, such as the new bus lane, is $55, according to Lawrence Municipal Court.
Parking tickets are now being issued for those who park in the bus lane, and several cars have already been ticketed in the first days the stop was in use. Allen said at one point he saw three cars parked in the bus lane, which is marked on both sides with no parking signs.
“People have been parking in it and getting ticketed, so any awareness that people should not park there is good to communicate,” Allen said. “…I felt bad seeing those $55 tickets on peoples’ cars.”
The license agreement between Greyhound and the city was approved by the City Commission on March 7, and established an initial monthly fee of $250 for the first six months to locate the stop next to the library. The cost will be upped to $500 per month for the following six months, and either party can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice. The city has encouraged Greyhound to continue looking for a private location that can provide ticket sales.
Bus riders cannot purchase tickets at the library stop or the stop at the right-of-way at East Sixth and New Hampshire streets. The bus line, which connects to 3,800 cities, has been using the right-of-way free of charge for more than a year. The bus service requested and received multiple extensions of that agreement, citing that its efforts to find another business to host its stop had been unsuccessful.
Allen said the library is happy to offer assistance for those riders who need to print tickets that they purchase online. He said that’s not much different from when the bus was only stopping at the right-of-way a few blocks away.
“I’ve shown people how to print a ticket. I’ve looked up bus schedules for people at the welcome desk,” Allen said. “We would do that for any need — we would do that for the train.”
Beginning March 20, the Greyhound bus service will no longer stop at the City Hall right-of-way, and will only pick up and drop off riders at the new bus stop alongside the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.