Raleigh Union Station and RUSbus Facility


Greyhound is a private business and made its own decision to leave downtown, as is their right. Raleigh isn’t the only city where Greyhound has done so. Why? The bus system has very thin financial margins, and a bus station downtown can be expensive. Putting the bus station close to I-440 minimizes the amount of time that the bus spends in Raleigh. A bus that’s sitting still in traffic isn’t making Greyhound any money. Lastly, Greyhound made a killing by selling its downtown real estate.

I don’t believe these issues are insurmountable, but for the indefinite future Greyhound is where it is. At the time of the move from downtown, there was speculation that Greyhound signed a 10-year lease for the property on Capitol Blvd. They do not own it, by the way.


Greyhound is a different animal (no pun intended) than the public carriers, so of course they have different motivations. So, at least with the infrastructure we have today, I think that makes sense from an operational point of view.

As a potential rider who definitely doesn’t feel attracted to that location, though, I can’t help but feel like that they’re sabotaging their own market… to quote a 2014 Indy Weekly article:

The three-mile walk from Raleigh’s future Greyhound bus station in a forlorn strip mall on Capital Boulevard to the heart of downtown is probably best made by a seasoned hobo. The pedestrian has to navigate concrete-strewn underpasses, muddy potted back roads and grassy medians before walking along the snarling shoulder of Capital Boulevard, past porno stores and chop shops. There are no sidewalks for the first mile and a half.
There are no places to eat or drink in walking distance. In fact, there is nowhere to walk at all. Cab fares to and from the new terminal will be pricier, unless you’re coming from Rolesville. […] The new terminal also frustrated Raleigh taxi drivers, who depend in part on ferrying Greyhound passengers for their survival. “It’s no good,” said Guerrar, a driver for City Cab, “They don’t care about us.”

…so if the lease is really only for ten years, I really hope they don’t renew it.

If all that matters is to keep costs low, then the move makes sense… but if Greyhound were to try to think ahead and get out of a “paycheck-by-paycheck” mentality, it doesn’t seem like the smartest idea.


Nice article on Raleigh’s Union Station:

‘Al Capone may have sat on them.’ Amtrak salvages history from Raleigh’s train station.


On a vaguely related note, Raleigh is apparently starting this study to see how exactly they could align BRT and transit-oriented development downtown. Does anyone know more about this?



Passing by I believe the old station has been completed demolished but I didn’t get a good look. Anyone confirm?


Yes. It is completely torn down


I found the below link regarding the Raleigh Union Station Phase II. Has some pictures of what could be located on this location along with some other graphs.



Very neat find! I love that they are really hoping to maximize their possibilities on this site with a combination of uses. When that projects is completed, this area will be quite the go-to place.

I do hope that whatever building is constructed on this site will make a strong use of the existing structure as its base, similar to what Kane did with the Dillon. It would really help to keep the industrial vibe of the area even with all of the new modern development sitting above.

Also interesting that they included a “potential future development” map. It would be great if the advent of BRT through this part of downtown spurs some developers to put shovels in the ground.

EDIT: While looking through the grant proposal, I found something intriguing: The City is considering making the block of West St. adjacent to RUS Bus a “shared space,” along the lines of City Plaza, in which there is no difference between street and sidewalk and a uniform textured surface is applied to the street. This would make cars feel like intruders into a pedestrian zone, slowing them down. I like this idea!

And it states that private sector development partners will be chosen in October of this year!


The information refers to both regular and low income housing in this project. I can only wonder what John Kane must be thinking?


wow, I’m completely on board with this concept. It seems very well thought out, and the massing and scale would be a great fit for the area. I love how the plaza could feel like a larger move that extends from Union Station into the street, creating a pretty significant pedestrian-oriented zone.

Anyone know who produced these? Was it Clearscapes?


Love this concept! Anyone else notice that one of the renderings shows a new platform (Wake Forest commuter rail) right where Hargett St. crosses the tracks? I can’t remember who mentioned it before, but it looks like Hargett will probably get blocked eventually…time for the Wye Line!!!


Very nice sketch. Is there really room for two train platforms side by side as this concept shows on the bottom left?


I thought in one of the drawings it looked like the tracks went under Hargett. I can’t imagine them closing Hargett with everything that is going to be around that area.


I’m not sure if that detail is 100% accurate. It also shows the SEHSR alignment on the wrong leg of the wye.


There is plenty of room. The inner platform is supposed to be the low-level commuter platform. On this illustration, there even appears to be another track inside of the commuter platform.


Thanks a lot for the link to the RUSBUS website. Although I have my quibbles with Union Station itself (the long walk from the station to the platform… I mean, come on!), I can clearly see that they are on the right track to knocking it out of the park with RUSBUS. Nearly everything about this plan is exactly as I would hope it to be.

First observation: I was expecting there to be an office component, with such excellent transit accessibility, and the market obviously showing that it is in demand in this part of town (One/Two Hillsborough and Dillon) I wonder why they chose to go for residential/hotel instead of residential/office or hotel/office? In any case, I’m fine with res/hotel. Not a problem. Just an observation.

Second, I am SO glad to see that they are thinking about how to link buses (both BRT and others) between Union Station and Moore Square. The way these BRT lines interact with each other, other bus routes, the transit hubs, and the rest of downtown, will make or break our transit system. I hope they consider this carefully, and come up with a good solution. If they can make the downtown routing fast, robust, convenient, and user friendly, I think the BRT will be a smash hit.


There is a Downtown Transit Advisory Committee (FD, I sit on this committee) that is trying to piece together what downtown looks like as you have 4 BRT lines coming in. There is good support for incorporating both RUSbus and GoRaleigh Station into these plans.

However, put me down as someone who is not sold on the idea of having all the BRT lines serve both the downtown bus stations. I see three scenarios to consider:

  1. All 4 BRT lines serve RUSbus and a circulator loops in GoRaleigh
  2. All 4 BRT lines serve GoRaleigh and a circulator loops in RUSbus
  3. The BRT lines serve none directly

I wish there were visuals to share (those will come in time) but I see the BRT coming into downtown and slowing to a crawl as they snake their way through downtown trying to get to these stations. Now that might be the accessible way to go about things, I’m open to that, but to get the commuters to consider this system, I strongly think that we can’t think of downtown as the start/end point. It’s just a major stop and easy way to pass through.

I think Dawson and McDowell make great streets for BRT and think that the 4 lines can converge there with some kind of mega bus stop hub at Nash Square. It’s a short walk to GoRaleigh and RUS from there.

The thing is too, which could entirely change my thinking, is that we need to look at typical ridership use cases. Who might be riding the BRT into town and then change to a local route? Or the other way around? I just think that downtown shouldn’t be a barrier, a “slowing down” of the system for those on the east side that want to go west, or those on the north that want to go east, etc.

Food for thought and I think we’ll see much more once the proposed routes for BRT in downtown come out.


My personal thinking is that we should not think of this as four BRT routes, but as two. Tying them together into East-West (New Bern-Western) and North-South (Capital-Wilmington) seems the obvious choice. Some of the planners at public meetings were saying that they’d looked into it and the origin/destination paring among existing riders are actually stronger for East-South and North-West, but I have a hard time thinking of how that might work out from a routing and operations perspective downtown.

It’s a quarter mile walk from Nash Square to either Union Station or GoRaleigh station. That’s a reasonable walk if that’s your destination, but it’s too much for a transfer. A circulator also doesn’t help, It takes 8 minutes to walk that distance (5 minutes walking plus 3 minutes total waiting at stoplights) so a circulator would have to be running like every 3 minutes for this to be any faster than just walking.

I think that if you treat the BRT system as a separate thing all to itself, requiring a circulator to transfer from city buses or commuter rail, then you are building transit lines rather than building an integrated transit system and that would be selling our fair city short.

I think that running both BRT lines past both stations can work, but only with dedicated bus facilities along nearly the entire route. If you build dedicated bus lanes and install a functional signal priority system, you could make any street work just as well for buses as Dawson and McDowell do right now for cars. This is where the rubber hits the road. We need leadership (Leo- you’re the perfect one for the job!) to make the tough decisions. We will have to give up on-street parking along all or most of the route and give the space over to the BRT. I mean, if we can’t even give up a few blocks of on-street parking (when there are thousands of spaces in public decks all around downtown!) then we have no business building transit in the first place, and we’d might as well just cancel the sales tax. Seriously.

If losing all the parking along both sides of a street is too much, then you could run the buses one way on one street and the other way on another. (For example: Eastbound on Martin and Westbound on Hargett.)

This is important. I sincerely hope our city has the guts to do this properly. We have to get it right, with as few compromises as possible.

  1. Wish Orange County and Durham County to get over themselves and unify the transit system into the Port Authority of the Triangle. 5 bus systems is insane for this metro size.

  2. Give up the RUS Bus Station and sell the land to developers for a lot of money, also the GoTriangle station as well so that they can work on a project that makes better sense such as my next point.

  3. The Municipal Deck on Morgan Street behind the current City Hall should be THE RUS Bus Station. Think about it 3 of the 4 BRT routes can stop at this location street-side, only the westward BRT will have to make a funky turn in. I don’t understand why GoTriangle and the City Council are so blind to this fact. Phase III should be the RUS Bus Station/GoTriangle Super Hub.

  4. You can build a pedestrian tunnel between it and the train station.

  5. BRT should terminate at mini-hubs services by local/regional bus systems.

  6. West BRT mini-hub should terminate at I40 and have a super massive parking structure. East BRT min-hub should as well in the far future.


1: GoDurham and GoTriangle are already basically merged. Chapel Hill Transit wants to stay separate because of their fare free system and the deal they have with UNC. Frankly I wouldn’t mind if GoRaleigh and GoCary merged into GoTriangle as well, I think it might have some good benefits and economies of scale. But an outright merger is less important than just coordinated planning.

2/3: That is an interesting thought. Moving the local bus hub to the city’s municipal complex might merit a look. The city just spent a good bit of money on renovations at Moore Square, but the spot you mention does seem like it might be better from a bus operations standpoint.

4: This is still a quarter mile from Union Station. That’s still a long way, if you care about connections.

5/6: I don’t think that satellite bus hubs anchored by gigantic parking structures are a wise investment. In fact I don’t think that park and ride will really be much of a “thing” for the BRT and I am quite happy about that.