Los Angeles promises to add thousands of bus shelters

Thousands of bus shelters could be added to Los Angeles streets over the next decade under an advertising contract approved by the City Council this week. On Tuesday,

the council voted 12 to 1 to give the joint venture Tranzito-Vector a 10-year contract to advertise on hundreds of bus shelters in exchange for installing and maintaining 3,000

such structures across the city. In Los Angeles, fewer than a quarter of its 8,000 bus stops have shelters. The move would markedly increase shade for bus riders forced to

wait in the sun as heat waves are predicted to grow more severe and frequent with climate change. But critics say it opens the door to more digital advertising, which

neighbors see as an eyesore, and to dependence on funding from that advertising, which could be elusive. The company promises to upgrade the experience for bus riders with

real-time transit data, more shade and cover from the rain, and has plans for possible scooter and bike docks. The aim is to provide shade for at least 75% of transit users, with

the locations largely determined by city planners based on the area’s heat index, transit usage and economic needs. "This is a big step forward for the city of Los Angeles

in creating a transportation system that serves our most disadvantaged residents," said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield ahead of the vote. Under the terms of the contract, Los

Angeles pays $237 million to build the bus shelters, but earns 60% of all ad revenue from them — projected to be $639 million over the life of the contract. The city hopes the

contract will pay for itself, but this will be contingent on a turbulent advertising market, raising concerns among some councilmembers.