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LA City Council OKs $30M plan to replace and add bus shelters

Nearly 300 new bus shelters will be installed across Los Angeles starting next year after the City Council approved $30 million in shelter replacements and additions.

Two-hundred-eighty bus shelters will be installed across the city, including 50 new shelters where none currently exist. Money will also go toward improving sidewalks near shelters. Bus riders have long called for change. 

“They should’ve done this from the moment they had created the bus system,” rider Joseph Gutierrez said. “They should have had the bus stops also in place.”

The Board of Public Works requested authority to use a $30 million loan from the Public Works Trust Fund to install new shelters, prepare a loan repayment schedule and identify additional sources of funds to minimize the interest on the loan.

The city plans to install the shelters starting early next year. The 280 shelters are part of an overall vision to install 3,000 new shelters in the next five years under the city’s Sidewalk and Transit Amenities Program.

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, Councilman Bob Blumenfield said the city had only installed 25 new bus shelters in the past 10 years. He said this is “unconscionable.”

“Twenty-five in a decade — that is pathetic, that is embarrassing,” Blumenfield said. 

One year ago, the city established an agreement with Tranzito-Vector to install 3,000 high-tech bus shelters across most of the city’s bus stops. 

“These are shelters that are going to have modern amenities, like telling you when the buses are coming, you know, electronic displays, some of them will have Wi-Fi,” Blumenfield said. “I mean, these will be modern bus shelters.”

The city will handle the building and Tranzito will handle the advertising. The city will take 60% of the revenue from advertisement in hopes of funding the installation of more bus shelters, with a priority in underserved areas. 

The Bureau of Street Services estimated the city would receive $500 million in revenue generated from ads. The city plans to repay the loan in five equal payments of $6 million through 2028.

A separate bank account was also established to hold approximately $4 million of revenue generated by advertising from bus shelters, which will be divided between each of the 15 council district offices for discretionary use. 

“I’m hopeful that having a dedicated source of revenue for this will actually enable us to reach our very ambitious goals of having bus shelters across all of our bus stops in the city, and get us closer toward making the use of public transit as comfortable and safe as possible for all of our residents,” Councilwoman and member of the Public Works Committee Nithya Raman said prior to Wednesday’s vote.

“The folks who are using our public transit really need these bus shelters,” Blumenfield said. “And this is an exciting development that’s long overdue.”

Some bus riders, however, are doubtful of the city’s ability to follow through. 

“What is it going to be? Show the community that there’s a plan of action, not just a budget,” bus rider Richard Alfaro said. “Show us what it is.”

Read More:LA City Council OKs $30M plan to replace and add bus shelters