home contact blog projects transit

6th & Maple Bus Terminal: the second floor

Previously, I made a blog post about this abandoned bus terminal in downtown LA, which was a hub for RTD buses and Greyhound coaches. That post is mainly about its history, and how it represents something of a golden age of buses as the premier transit mode in southern California. Since posting that, I've gone back to the building and explored a little more, particularly on the second floor and the rooftop parkintg lot.

the large multifaceted sign on the rooftop of the building at sixth and los angeles. it has a rotating oval on top and a rectangle on each side. cars are parked nearby
The rooftop sign.
black and white photo of the northwest corner of the building. a greyhound coach can be seen through the arches on the second floor. the rooftop sign has a greyhound logo on the upper oval, and the word BUS spelled out on the rectangles
The terminal back in the day, with a greyhound visible on the second floor. Source: LAPL.

Back in the day, the terminal had a very neat vertical layout: ticket hall and shops on the ground floor, RTD transit buses in the basement, Greyhound buses on the second floor, and parking on the roof. Ever since Greyhound sold it off in 1982, the ground floor has been subdivided into a host of wholesale retail shops, social services, and a couple small coach bus ticket offices. The basement, as far as I can tell, is one giant storage room, and the second floor is subdivided into dozens of small storage rooms and loading docks. The rooftop is still entirely parking. Sometimes, the entrance on sixth street is open, allowing pedestrian access to the rooftop. The vehicle entrance on Seventh street is often open, allowing me to walk in and around the second floor.

looking up at the side of a building. concrete arches frame empty space on the second floor, above ground floor convenience stores.
The open arches of the second floor, as viewed from sixth street.
Interior open space with three vehicle ramps. one ramp goes from los angeles street up to the rooftop. it is separated by a chain length fence from two ramps that form a loop from seventh street to the second floor.
Parking and Greyhound ramps weaving amongst one another.
A vertical plastic backlit sign reading MART in an elegant bold font, viewed from behind a concrete arch. in the background an old mid-rise building can be seen with painted advertisements for the Hotel Cecil.
The Merchandise Mart sign on Los Angeles Street viewed from inside.
Looking down a large concrete ramp. cars are parked along the beige and powder blue walls, and large painted letters indicate the 5 mile per hour speed limit.
The greyhound exit ramp.
Looking along the upper floor vehicle hallway. A step van is parked next to a ramp leading up to a loading dock.
Internal retrofitted loading docks on the former Greyhound deck.
a loading dock in a corner of the upper level. it has a stencilled red and white sign reading SPEED - 5 MPH - BACKING BUSES HAVE RIGHT OF WAY.
A sign leftover from the Greyhound days
printed evacuation map of the second floor of the building. there is a large loop for truck traffic, with many small internal rooms in the middle of it.
Map of the second floor

Earlier, I wondered why RTD abandoned this terminal. The answer has less to do with RTD operations, and more to do with the fact that the building was owned by Greyhound. The company has been in decline for decades, and selling off as many physical buildings as it can. Its LA hub has moved to Union Station, but in other cities passengers have had to wait on sidewalks as waiting rooms have been closed. It's a sad state of affairs, and the 6th street terminal is a tangible reminder of how much better inter-city buses used to be in America. Perhaps it can give us hope for the future, too.