Upgrades, Improvements Making Bus Stops Safer

LAS VEGAS -- The Regional Transportation Commission is making major upgrades to bus shelters, and more improvements are on the way. The changes come on the heels of several crashes involving bus stops, including one last September that left four people dead.

Many bus riders are pleased with the progress, but other riders fear some bus stops are another accident waiting to happen. Statistically, bus stop crashes are only .05 percent of all accidents.

New bus shelters have to be at least five feet away from the curb, but some riders worry they are in the path of danger.

Maria de Mendoza is one of those riders. She is a regular on the bus.

"Every day. I've been living here over 33 years," de Mendoza said.

She takes the bus to and from her housekeeping job and sees too many dangerous drivers as she waits.

Since 2007, law enforcement from around southern Nevada have investigated 112 crashes at local bus stops.

From a man high on prescription drugs plowing into a bus stop killing an innocent woman on Boulder Highway in 2008 to a teacher slamming into a bus stop, causing a teen to lose his leg last year to the Spring Mountain Road crash one year ago, the community is concerned.

According to an RTC report, 18 people have been injured, and five have died in the last six years.

Erin Breen is the chair of the RTC's Bus Shelter and Bench Advisory Committee.

"We're looking at them site by site," Breen said, "It has been shown that just moving a bus shelter back even six feet mitigates the problem of being hit by an out-of-control vehicle by about 85 percent."

Of the valley's more than 3,000 bus stops, 29 percent are at least five feet away from the curb. Last year the RTC built 150 safer bus shelters, and is starting to add 150 more this year.

As more road construction takes place, more bus turnouts will be added.

However, traffic safety experts point out crashes are never the fault of the bus stop.

"There has not been a bus shelter hit where people have been critically injured or killed where the driver was not impaired," Breen said.

Meantime, Maria de Mendoza chooses where she sits wisely, and is glad to know more bus stops are being upgraded.


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