Monday, May 21 , 2018, 12:33 pm | Overcast 63º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Advice

Drive Under Way to Get Greyhound Bus Station a New Home in Santa Maria

8-year-old girl asks City Council to find new site after burglar linked to bus broke into her family's house near the current station

Santa Maria’s current Greyhound bus station at 755 W. Cypress St. was only intended to be a temporary location but has stretched to 14 years and counting. City and Greyhound officials are exploring moving it to a permanent home at the Santa Maria Transit Center on Boone Street, nearer to Allan Hancock College, the Santa Maria Court Complex and the Santa Maria Town Center. Click to view larger
Santa Maria’s current Greyhound bus station at 755 W. Cypress St. was only intended to be a temporary location but has stretched to 14 years and counting. City and Greyhound officials are exploring moving it to a permanent home at the Santa Maria Transit Center on Boone Street, nearer to Allan Hancock College, the Santa Maria Court Complex and the Santa Maria Town Center. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Two years after a recently released state prison inmate broke into her house near the Greyhound bus station in Santa Maria, Mahliah Gomez is still too scared to sleep in her own bed.

Last week, the 8-year-old and her grandfather asked the Santa Maria City Council to find a new home for the bus station in northwest Santa Maria. They heard that relocation plans already are in the works.

Armed with a stepstool for his granddaughter to reach the microphone, David Gomez also carried a window screen with the cut marks made by the home invader two years ago.

“I’m here complaining about the Greyhound station,” Mahliah said.

“I want it to be moved to a better location, like in a commercial area, because my house was broken into while I was asleep and was woken up by my mom screaming. Someone was in our house. I was very scared. I’m so scared I can’t sleep in my own room.”

The bus station, at 755 W. Cypress St. near South Depot Street, is near industrial property but also close to several residential neighborhoods between West Cook and West Main streets.

After the 2013 break-in at their home, the Gomez family learned the suspect had recently been released from state prison and had arrived in Santa Maria by Greyhound bus. The home invader also broke into two other houses during his spree, before he was captured and sent back to prison.

For Mahliah, lingering fear from the incident, which happened when she was 6, means she stretches out on the foot of her parents’ bed to sleep, adding a blanket to make sure “he” can’t see her, her family said.

“Can we please have this station moved?” Mahliah asked the council.

In a screen shot from a City of Santa Maria YouTube video, David Gomez introduces his 8-year-old granddaughter, Mahliah, at last week’s City Council meeting. The girl spoke out about the lcurrent ocation of the Greyhound bus station. 'Can we please have this station moved?' she asked the council. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
In a screen shot from a City of Santa Maria YouTube video, David Gomez introduces his 8-year-old granddaughter, Mahliah, at last week’s City Council meeting. The girl spoke out about the lcurrent ocation of the Greyhound bus station. “Can we please have this station moved?” she asked the council. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“Mahliah, I think that was a great idea and we will certainly work on that,” Mayor Alice Patino replied.

The bus station was moved to the Cypress Street site after vacating another building near the intersection of North Broadway and West Fesler Street.

The modular building housing Greyhound was supposed to be a temporary location — starting approximately 14 years ago. The council approved the move in early 2001.

City Manager Rick Haydon told the council that city staff has been talking with Greyhound about another relocation.

He noted that the Cypress site was considered a makeshift arrangement at the eleventh hour after Greyhound announced plans to leave Santa Maria. City employees came up with a possible temporary home to keep the bus company in Santa Maria.

“However, it’s not a long-term fix so we are taking a look at the possible relocation of them to possibility the Transit Center,” Haydon said. “We’re in discussions with them.”

The Santa Maria Transit Center opened in 2011 on Boone Street near Miller Street.

The relocation has been a joint effort between Greyhound and the city, but is in the preliminary stages, Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said Thursday.

“We’re excited about moving into the Transit Center as it will provide seamless connectivity with multiple modes of transportation under one roof, which will be a benefit to our customers,” she added.

The transit center is within walking distance of Allan Hancock CollegeSanta Maria Court ComplexSanta Maria Town Center and more.

Putting Greyhound in the Transit Center also would provide an easy transition for passengers’ access to all the local public transit systems, added Mark van de Kamp, a city spokesman.

“You can actually go anywhere in the country from the Transit Center, and having Greyhound would help,” he said Thursday.

Relocation will take some time since the move has to be approved by the City Council, Greyhound and the Federal Transit Administration.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >