As heat waves intensify, bus riders in Los Angeles are forced to wait at bus stops that offer little shade or seating, putting vulnerable residents at risk of heat stroke and other health impacts.
According to an article by Rachel Uranga in the Los Angeles Times, “Of the 12,200 bus stops served by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, only a quarter have some kind of shade or rain shelter, and only half have a seat for those waiting.”
As heat waves become increasingly deadly, Uranga asks, when will L.A. bus riders finally have adequate facilities to protect them while they wait for the city’s (often late) buses?
“While the average trip on a Metro bus is less than five miles, about half the time of that journey is spent looking down the road for signs of a bus.” As Uranga points out, “The searing weather is yet another setback for largely low-income bus riders who often face long, difficult commutes.” The city is working on a contract to add more shelters to bus stops in its jurisdiction, but the project could take years.
While Los Angeles may be known for historically mild weather, those days are essentially over. Juan Matute, deputy director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, says “Climate change is changing the baseline of all these past decisions.” To protect vulnerable residents, “Transit advocates say the agencies need to look to desert cities like Phoenix, where bus stop canopies equipped with misters and fans to cool riders have been installed.”
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