Spending for Star Tran, Lincoln’s public transit system, will be an item of discussion as the city council holds a public hearing on the city buidget today. I agree with public transit advocate and retired attorney Richard Schmeling that Lincoln needs more bus benches and bus shelters.
According to Schemling, only 100 out of 800 stops have a bench and/or shelter. The number of bench/shelterless stops increased as Lincoln shifted routes onto arterial streets in a move that has increased ridership by 11 percent.
Bus benches and shelters are a matter of basic human dignity. The fact that someone taking the bus to work as a housekeeper or nursing aide can’t sit down or get out of the elements while waiting for transportation makes me feel sad and angry. The lack of benches and shelters is quite visible along South 13th Street with groups of people stand along the street waiting for the bus.
Lincoln touts its innovation in transportation. We are testing a driverless shuttle. We have rental bikes. Lincoln also touts its use of green technology. We have a park bench/charging station powered and covered by a solar panel. Lincoln also touts its public art which improves the quality of life in the city. I would like to see that same focus on innovation and aesthetics applied to improving the comfort and experience for riders of our public transportation system. This would raise the quality of life within the city of Lincoln.