Hooker, who lives at 430 S. C St., climbed aboard the San Francisco-bound Greyhound shortly before 10 a.m.
The bus was an hour late because of fog in the Fresno area, but that didn’t bother Hooker.
“Usually, they are right on time — within a few minutes — and getting on the bus here (at the transit station) is only three blocks from my house. This is going to be OK.”
Earlier, Hooker had gone to the BonFare Market convenience store at Grant Line Road and Holly Drive, where passengers had boarded Greyhounds at the curb in recent years. The clerk in the store told him Greyhound had moved to the Tracy Transit Station. A friend drove him there.
The move from the Grant Line Road curb next to convenience store to the 2-year-old Tracy Transit Station at Sixth Street and Central Avenue is a development city of Tracy and Greyhound officials have been discussing for more than year.
It’s also something I have personally followed after spotting bus passengers huddled in the shade of a small tree on the side of Grant Line Road in 100-degree heat in the summer of 2010, while the new transit station was sparsely used.
A year ago, Greyhound officials visited Tracy and agreed to move Greyhound’s Tracy stop to the air-conditioned and heated Tracy Transit Station.
The city then included a Greyhound-agency provision in a new contract with MV Transportation, the San Leandro-based firm that has operated the city’s Tracer bus service for the past decade.
Earlier this year, Rod Buchanan, the city’s director of parks and community services, announced that the three-way deal had been completed, and Greyhound service at the transit station would begin this fall.
Well, the day finally came Thursday with the arrival of the blue Greyhound bus, which discharged three passengers and took aboard one — Mike Hooker, heading for Hayward to ride B.A.R.T. to Oakland.
The city will celebrate the event at 3 p.m. Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the transit station. City and Greyhound officials will be on hand to give brief talks and snip the ribbon.
The ticket counter inside the transit station operated by MV Transportation is also serving as the Greyhound agency. Tickets are printed out from Greyhound’s computer system, on which James Bolden, an area manager for Greyhound, tutored MV employees Wednesday and Thursday.
Four Greyhound buses stop at the transit center each day: southbound San Francisco-Los Angeles buses at 8:40 a.m. and 6:50 p.m., and northbound Los Angeles-San Francisco buses at 12:50 and 6:35 p.m.
The ticket counter inside the transit station is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for Sunday buses must be purchased in advance.
And, yes, there are no trains stopping these days at the transit station constructed next to the tracks. But the beginning of Greyhound service is a major milestone, one that could be a step toward the day that passenger trains — even the high-speed variety — will be pulling up to Tracy’s handsome station.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greyhound service at Tracy Transit Station
• Station hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Open for passenger tickets and package service.
• Greyhound buses: Northbound Los Angeles to San Francisco: 8:40 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. (first stop Hayward). Southbound San Francisco to Los Angeles, 12:50 and 6:35 p.m. (first stop Modesto).
• Ribbon cutting: 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in front of Tracy Transit Station, Sixth Street and Central Avenue.