JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center is one step closer to completion.
The Intercity Bus Terminal off West Forsyth Street in the LaVilla area opened Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The terminal will be used for Greyhound and Megabus operations as part of a larger transportation hub that's in the works to make travel more convenient in Jacksonville.
The terminal is nearly 10,000 square feet, about 25 percent larger than the existing one. It includes a spacious waiting area, ticketing offices, a cafeteria and nine bus bays.
City leaders said the development of new housing and retail space make LaVilla a critical spot for the regional transportation center.
"We benefit from additional ridership, so we look at it from a holistic perspective that our investment and our activity will help with the overall success of JTA,” said Nathaniel Ford, the agency's CEO.
The transition from the old Greyhound station to the new station is underway. The buses won't officially start using the Intercity Bus Terminal until April 17.
The old Greyhound station was sold to a private investor. There's no word yet on what the plans are for the building.
In a couple years, riders will be able to get off of a Greyhound and right onto the Skyway or JTA bus in the same location.
Under construction beside the Intercity Bus Terminal is the second phase of the regional transportation center, which will include a bus transfer facility, enclosed passenger waiting area and JTA administrative offices. It's all about progress, connectivity and convenience.
"Not everyone can drive, based on age, the desire to drive or not, or affordability of a car,” Ford said. “We are offering a cost-efficient mode of transpiration."
The second phase of construction is expected to be completed by 2020. JTA is already making plans for a third phase, relocating the commuter rail and Amtrak to the regional transportation center, but it's not yet funded.