The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

Chapel Hill Transit looks into revamping bus stops

Some of these stops have bus shelters and benches — even digital signs telling commuters the length of time until the next bus arrives — but others only have a blue sign that reads “Bus Stop.”

Brian Litchfield, Chapel Hill Transit director, said out of the 597 bus stops in the Chapel Hill transit system, about 26 percent of them have passenger amenities — bus shelters, benches and digital signs — a percentage higher than other transit systems in the area with about the same number of stops.

“But we’re not satisfied with that number,” Litchfield said.

Litchfield tweeted Wednesday that Chapel Hill Transit was excited to announce plans to start some new bus stop improvements.

Litchfield said these improvements would include upgrading some older bus stops to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act was first passed by Congress in 1990.

“We have stops that have not been improved since those stops were probably placed in 1974 and 1975 when the system started,” Litchfield said.

He said improvements to bus stops to make them more accessible could include installing sidewalk curbs and cutting ramps into the sidewalk. Other improvements would include adding benches and bus shelters.

Renovation time would vary, with the installation of bus shelters taking a few hours to a day, while installing sidewalk curbs would take longer to complete.

“It really depends on the complexity of the improvement that needs to be done,” Litchfield said.

Chapel Hill resident Greg Jenkins said he rides the bus every day to get around. Jenkins said some of the bus stops he uses do need to be improved.

"(Some need) seats and shelters where people can get out the rain when it rains on them,” Jenkins said.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Ed Harrison said in an email that a budget item for renovations to bus stops would be shown to the Public Transit Partners Committee, a committee made up of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and UNC representatives.

Harrison said the town council has never before had to approve such budget items, but the council might receive an announcement about it happening.

Litchfield said Chapel Hill Transit has been continually improving bus stops whenever they have the resources.

He said in the next 12 to 18 months, Chapel Hill Transit will be setting aside additional resources for bus stop renovations, as well as using some federal grant money.

“We want to improve (more stops) and make sure our customers, and those interested in using Chapel Hill Transit, have access,” Litchfield said.

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