SPRINGFIELD TWP., Ohio -- Does Cincinnati Metro have one of the "sorriest" bus stops in the country?
That's what the national transit and transportation site StreetsblogUSA is asking this year, during its annual "Sorry Bus Stops" challenge. The site is looking to highlight the "sad, decrepit, and outright dangerous state of our bus stops."
In round one of it's March Madness-esque bracket competition, the Metro bus stop on Daly Road near Pinehollow Lane faced off against a bus stop in Ypsilanti, Michigan just outside Ann Arbor. The inbound stop carrying Metro routes 16 and 15X sits on the shoulder of Daly Road with no bench, shelter, sidewalk or street lights.
The stop was nominated by an anonymous Streetsblog reader, who said:
There is no way to get to it, nowhere to stand unless you want to hop the barrier and stand in the grass. To top it off, the nearest streetlight is on the other side of the street and 130 ft away, so if you were to wait for the bus there at night it would be very unsafe.
The Daly Road stop won "sorriest" of the two by an 86-point margin.
Other cities in the running for "sorriest" bus stop include:
- New Orleans
- McKees Rocks, Penn.
- Salt Lake City
- New York
- Suffolk, Virg.
- Revere, Mass.
- San Diego
- Beverly Hills
- San Rafael, Calif.
- Vancouver, Wash.
Cincinnati Metro is facing a looming $184 million deficit over the next decade, and Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority trustees this year tabled a proposal to present voters a ballot initiative to boost bus service via a county-wide sales tax levy.
Metro has struggled to make capital investments on things like bus stop benches, shelters and replacing its aging fleet of buses with its current budget structure, which relies primarily on a portion of the city of Cincinnati's earnings tax.
According to a November 2017 report to the SORTA Board of Trustees, nearly one third of Metro's buses are too old and should be replaced. Benches at bus stops began disappearing in 2013 after City Council passed an ordinance banning advertising on benches in the public right-of-way, prompting their removal.
SORTA spokeswoman Brandy Jones previously told WCPO that the transit agency in August 2017 approved a new contract with Clean Zone Marketing. That contract would have allowed some advertising to fund new bench and shelter installation, with the city's permission. But in April 2018 SORTA issued to the vendor a notice of default on that contract. The contract called for 20 new shelters and 60 new benches, but none have been installed.
Since, a grassroots movement to place benches at bus stops without them started to grow this summer -- spearheaded by the Better Bus Coalition.
"This is not rocket science," the coalition's president, Cam Hardy told WCPO. "We just want people to be comfortable while waiting on buses. It's just a way to make our bus system a little more presentable to some new riders or even the current riders we have now."