“Sorriest Bus Stops” Contest Final Pits Cincinnati vs. Vancouver
1:55 PM PDT on September 11, 2018
After weeks and weeks of terrible, depressing bus stops, it's time for the championship match at Streetsblog's beloved Sorriest Bus Stop in (North) America™ Competition.
The two cities left standing from more than 40 nominees are Vancouver and Cincinnati.
Make sure to vote below after reading the stories of how these bus stops came to be so damn sorry. First up...
This stop on Daly Road in Springfield Township, just outside Cincinnati, is dreadful. The only way to get to it is crossing a busy street, and once there, bus riders have no space place to wait, unless they are willing to mount the guardrail and wait in the weeds. If they use a wheelchair, it's practically a death sentence.
And not only for wheelchair users. On Monday, 15-year-old high school student Gabriella Rodriguez was killed in Cincinnati by a hit-and-run driver as she tried to reach a city bus stop similar to this. Now, Rodriguez wasn't killed at the sorry stop above, but her death is a reminder that, while this contest is lighthearted, these terrible bus stops, and thousands of stops like them, are a life-and-death matter.
No wonder Cincinnati destroyed New Orleans in the Final Four, with 72% of the vote.
We reached out to both Springfield Township and the local transit agency, SORTA, for a statement about this stop. A SORTA spokesman said:
It is our practice to have parallel bus stops for inbound and outbound service on the same street, so that a customer would be able to de-board near the proximate location of their origin on their return trip. However, due to the limited infrastructure (sidewalks, etc.) available in this neighborhood there were limited options in regards to an ideal location to place this bus stop. We are currently in the process of conducting a bus stop optimization project and will be evaluating all of the bus stops in our service area, including this one, to determine ideal placement.
Springfield Township told us the road was Hamilton County's responsibility. In Ohio, suburbs that don't incorporate and remain townships are able to offload a lot of their road maintenance responsibilities to the county. Hamilton County has not responded to a request for comment.
Local activist Cam Hardy, president of the Better Bus Coalition, has pointed out the low social status of the average Cincinnati bus rider is part of allows local leaders to ignore conditions like this. Median earnings of Cincinnati transit riders are just $15,600. County Commissioners in Hamilton County — led by President Todd Portune — recently punted on seeking additional revenue through a countywide levy. SORTA is facing a $38-million annual deficit.
Now let's talk about this bad bus stop in Vancouver, which beat its Final Four challenger, Pittsburgh, with 59% of the vote. Its inclusion in this competition has inspired significant coverage up north, with CBC and the Vancouver Courirer doing their own stories about this sorry stop.
Officials, overall, have been apologetic. Here's what the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had to say about this stop on the Lougheed Highway.
The decision to designate this a bus stop was made by TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company (one of TransLink’s operating companies).
It’s concerning to hear that people using this bus stop don’t feel safe, and appreciate that this photo has been brought to our attention. We are in the process of setting up meetings with TransLink and the Coast Mountain Bus company to see what we can do to make the bus stop more adequate.
These meetings will take place in the near future, and we’ll be discussing possible options for improving safety either at this particular bus stop location or finding a better alternative to this location – as long as there’s pedestrian connectivity and it’s still convenient for transit users.
Jason Lee, who submitted this stop, says the problem isn't money:
Immediately to the northwest of this stop is the Pitt River Bridge. In 2009, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure completed a rebuilding of the bridge and an associated interchange at a cost of C$198 million. Just down the road in the opposite direction, the Ministry is currently creating an auxiliary lane - ostensibly to improve safety for commercial vehicles leaving a rail yard - at a cost C$6.2 million. Despite spending over C$200 million on this section of Lougheed Highway, there did not seem to be sufficient resources to improve safety for pedestrians and transit riders.
With that, we'll leave it to you, dear readers. Voting ends Thursday at 11 p.m. Eastern time. The results will be published Friday morning. Streetsblog wishes both stops — and, more important, their users — the best of luck. May the sorriest bus stop win.