Through joint efforts, StarTran and Lincoln Public Schools recently improved StarTran bus stops located near schools.
Brian Praeuner, transportation planner at StarTran, and Scott Wieskamp, director of operations in charge of facilities at LPS, were prompted by Citizens For Improved Transit to explore this cooperative effort, according to Richard Schmeling, the group's president.
As a result, LPS identified bus stops needing improvement at Moore Middle School, Lefler Middle School, Lincoln High School and Lincoln Northeast High School. Others are in the planning and evaluation stage.
LPS granted easements where necessary and poured concrete pads. StarTran furnished benches from a supply on hand and installed them.
In addition, StarTran will improve about 35 bus stops at other locations this summer with funds in its budget.
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"There are over 800 designated bus stop locations on the StarTran routes, and currently only about one-fourth of them have either a bench or shelter," Schmeling said. "Improvements will be made giving priority to stops that have a higher passenger count."
If a bus stop averages 25 passengers per day, it qualifies for a shelter with a bench inside, Schmeling said. An average daily passenger count of 15 will result in a bench only. Stops that qualify for neither may qualify in the future if the average passenger count at that stop rises to meet the thresholds.
The citizens group has promoted an "Adopt a Bus Stop" program in which a business, neighborhood association or other interest group may partner with StarTran, Schmeling said.
"Those who adopt a bus stop will pay for site grading to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and pay the cost of the shelter or bench," he said. "Once the improvements are made, StarTran assumes the cost of maintenance and will remove the bench or shelter if that becomes necessary at no cost to the sponsor."
Businesses or groups interested in adopting a bus stop may call Brian Praeuner at 402-441-7185. A metal plate will be placed on the bench or shelter to recognize the adopting group for each bus stop.