Claims ‘faulty’ city contracts for bus shelters hurt bus riders

To the Editor:

Re: “Transportation committee asks for a ‘hold’ on bus advertising contract (Argonaut, Aug. 11):

I write in response to an Aug. 18 letter to the editor regarding the Los Angeles Council District 11 Transportation Advisory Committee vote to hold for 60 days the contract for covered bus shelters with ads on them.

I am a member of the committee, and have been a regular bus and transit rider since 1992. I know all too well what it is like to wait for a bus at an unenclosed bus stop in the hot sun, with the rain, and wind, and rain blown sideways by the wind, and the cold and the damp.

As a committee member I have always advocated for covered bus shelters, and believe the city needs to place them throughout the city, in addition to CD 11.

The reason I voted for the hold as a bus rider was the lack of transparency and advance notice by the city on the pending contract. The ads pay for the maintenance of these covered bus shelters. I use them and support them. However, the ads are opposed by some residents throughout the Westside, including Venice as the article stated.

A motivator for my hold was that before Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles was reconfigured, I initiated the placement of covered bus shelters along the boulevard.

During the boulevard’s construction the bus shelters were removed, and despite my three years of trying to get them reinstalled, they are not, due to opposition from local neighbors who revert to the contract between the city and the advertisement company, CBS/Decaux.

CBS/Decaux would maintain the bus shelters if they can place ads on them. The lack of clarity in the existing contract for Santa Monica Boulevard pertaining to covered bus shelters prevents any covered bus shelters with ads to be placed along the boulevard from the 405 Freeway to Century City, and it is bus riders who suffer from this lack of clarity.

To further highlight the harm to bus riders from poorly written contracts, in some parts of the city of Los Angeles, bus benches have been removed due to contractual breakdowns between the city and a different advertisement company. Again, here is a case where a faulty city contract hurts bus riders. To try to prevent more of these murky contracts that hurt bus riders, I voted for the hold.

The committee advised Councilman Bill Rosendahl and the city of Los Angeles to have a more transparent contracting procedure, and to include input from bus riders on these types of contracts.

Matthew Hetz, Westchester