Snow covered bus stops and sidewalks becoming a problem for bus riders

Posted at: 01/04/2013 4:40 PM
Updated at: 01/04/2013 7:24 PM

Snow covered sidewalks and bus stops are also becoming a problem. News10NBC received several emails from our viewers and we decided to find out who is responsible to clear the paths.

RTS says it's their practice for riders to walk to the next open area to access the bus, but News10NBC fielded some complaints from viewers for just this kind of situation behind me on Portland Avenue. The bus stop is totally not accessible and there's no nearby driveway or crosswalk to use.

Pamela Reese Smith showed News10NBC the bus stop near her Lyell Avenue and Otis Street home and how dangerous it would be to either climb over the snow bank, or wait for the bus in the street.

Pamela Reese Smith said, “I wouldn't be able to climb over this to access a bus, so I feel sorry for anyone who has to. And I would be very afraid to stand in the road. The traffic is butted up right against this snowbank.”

She said she tried to complain to the bus company, but said she couldn't get through to anyone in authority. So she called News10NBC.

Reese Smith said, “They need to be cleared and accessible for people to walk into the street from the bus easily. They could hire people to go around and clear these bus stops, especially on these main thoroughfares. And I'm really concerned about it.”

RTS says there are about 3,800 bus stops in its service area and nearly 200 enclosed type bus shelters. It's their practice for riders to walk to the next open area to access the bus. Bus riders complain the bus often doesn't stop for them if they're not close to the actual bus stop.

Sharif Jalil said, “Even if there's a spot down from the bus stop that's open, the bus driver won't stop there if you're waiting there. Somewhere that's been plowed, he won't stop.”

RTS trumpets the fact that bus fare is still $1. News10NBC asked Reese Smith if she'd be willing to pay another $0.25 a ride to pay for digging out bus stops like this one.

Reese Smith said, “I think people would be more than willing to pay that to help other people who don't have access. I know I would be willing to pay that extra quarter.”

A spokeswoman for the bus company says they maintain the glass and benches of those enclosed shelters, but RTS acknowledges it does not have resources to shovel out the actual bus stops. A spokesman for Mayor Tom Richards say the city has a big enough job to clear the streets and sidewalks, although the city doesn't clean out the bus shelters downtown.