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Where’s the Bus Stop? A Tale of Bureaucratic Woe

July 15, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ The city shifted some bus stops on a busy street last month, but someone neglected to move the bus shelters. Now, six weeks later, would-be riders still congregate in the cubicles, waving and shouting as their buses zoom by.

Meanwhile, no one in the city’s bureaucracy is accepting the blame.

The three stops on Second Avenue between 88th and 94th streets on Manhattan’s Upper East Side were altered by a block or so June 3 in keeping with a plan to go to three-block intervals instead of two-block intervals between stops.

But bus drivers on that route say they pass bewildered people at the out- of-service shelters every day. Sometimes they honk. Sometimes they point. Sometimes they just shake their heads. But they never stop. That’s a violation of Transit Authority rules and a punishable offense.

One such bewildered person was Susan Victor, who stood in the shade of a Second Avenue bus shelter with her two children recently when two M-15 buses passed by without stopping.

″As far as I know, this is the bus stop,″ she said. ″But they’ve changed some of them and we might be waiting for nothing.″

″If it’s moved, they should have signs telling you,″ added Ms. Victor, who lives on Second Avenue at 89th Street.

Alan Shapiro, who works in the Transit Authority’s operations planning department, said that ″sometimes we put paper signs up in the shelters. This time we didn’t.″ But he said the TA did put notices in the buses to inform passengers that the bus stops were moving.

In fact, Ms. Victor’s stop was a block away, marked by a little sign, a pictogram of a bus, high on a pole.

The TA has little control over bus stop locations, according to Norman Silverman of the TA’s planning department. Yet ″people blame us,″ he said.

Decisions about where to put the stops are made by the city Department of Transportation. But the DOT is not responsible for the shelters, which are covered with brightly colored ads and generate $2 million a year for the city plus 22 percent of the shelter company’s advertising revenues, according to the Bureau of Franchises.

Morris Tarshis, the city’s director of franchises, said the shelter company is responsible for moving the shelters under its contract with the city.

But Linda Miller, owner of Miller Signs, which holds an exclusive 10-year contract to operate nearly 1,200 bus shelters citywide, said: ″I haven’t been asked to move any shelters.″

Perhaps it’s not up to her.

Greg Perrin, a spokesman for the DOT, said it’s the Department of General Services that is responsible for moving the shelters.

″We sent a message to the Department of General Services and they are scheduled to be moved within a week,″ Perrin said Monday.

Meanwhile, the DOT has wasted no time installing parking meters in front of the defunct bus stops.

One bus driver said they ″sprang up overnight.″

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