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Bus shelters boon to riders

We were delighted to learn that Denton County Transportation Authority board members had approved a right of way agreement with city of Denton officials to install bus shelters at a number of Connect bus stops in the city.

And we’ve probably got plenty of company. Anyone who has ever stood waiting to catch a bus in Denton is no doubt excited by the news. Exposure to the elements does little to enhance the popularity of public transit.

DCTA officials are waiting for the agreement to be approved by the City Council so targeted stops can be upgraded with a bench, trash can and overhead covering for those waiting on the buses.

The agenda item is expected to be on a City Council agenda in February, and we encourage the council to take quick action. In our view, these improvements are long overdue.

The DCTA has been working with the city of Denton for the last couple of years to identify locations for additional passenger amenities, and right now is focusing on bus shelters, said Dee Leggett, DCTA vice president of communications and planning.

The agency installed 13 shelters in Lewisville in recent months and plans to install 20 shelters in Denton.

Since the DCTA can’t place a shelter at every stop, it has been prioritizing locations by first looking at how many passengers board at the stops. High-passenger stops are the first targeted, Leggett told us.

Agency officials then look at pedestrian connectivity to the shelters such as sidewalks to make sure there is adequate accessibility for people with mobility needs such as wheelchairs. Officials also look at stops where they can install shelters and there is no need for additional sidewalk work.

Hopefully, we will soon see additional passenger amenities appearing along the Connect routes.

Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs said he was happy to hear of DCTA’s progress in listening to concerns expressed by member cities and the people who rely on the system.

One of the biggest complaints he hears about using DCTA’s buses has been the lack of seating or protection from the elements at stops, Burroughs told us.

We can certainly understand that — fear of exposure to North Texas weather conditions is no way to build ridership, but the addition of much-needed shelters could be just the ticket to making DCTA buses a more popular and convenient choice.