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Guidelines for Placing & Removing Customer-Waiting Shelters

Customer-waiting shelters are an essential element of customer service. Shelters are placed at locations with a high number of boardings to protect customers from rain and snow and to provide transit information, including stop numbers and timetables for routes serving the shelter.

Due to the expense of installing and maintaining shelters, Metro Transit Engineering & Facilities staff place and remove shelters using the guidelines that follow.

NOTE: Suburban Transit Providers (SouthWest Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, and the cities of Maple Grove, Plymouth, Prior Lake, and Shakopee) are responsible for customer-waiting shelters in their service areas. In addition, shelters that contain paid advertising are owned and maintained by private companies often as part of a franchise agreement with local municipalities that share in the revenue generated from shelter advertising – Metro Transit is not responsible for these shelters.

Overview

Metro Transit owns shelters in more than 700 locations. While some maintenance work for these shelters is contracted, a majority is performed in-house by a Metro Transit staff of modest size. Shelters may be installed at bus stops, transit centers, transit stations, park-and-ride lots, or bus layover facilities.  In addition to installing shelters at new locations, Metro Transit must sometimes remove and relocate shelters from underutilized locations to ensure it best serves the highest number of customers and balances limited capital and operating resources.  

Priorities

With a large number of transit stops and facilities and limited resources, Metro Transit uses these priorities in assessing locations for shelters:

Priority #1: Site Suitability
A location must be capable of supporting a transit shelter. Factors such as sidewalk and right-of-way space, topography, land use compatibility and proximity to bus boarding locations are considered.

Priority #2: Daily Boardings
To qualify for a standard shelter, a suburban location must have at least 25 passenger boardings per day and 40 passenger boardings per day in Minneapolis or St. Paul. The number of boardings at a stop is determined using the most recent and complete available data. 

Heaters are installed occasionally in shelters; however, a stop must have at least 80 passenger boardings per day for a heater to be considered.  

Occasionally, Metro Transit receives requests to install custom shelters. Metro Transit will consider participating in custom shelter installation and/or maintenance at locations with at least 100 boarding passengers per day if the following conditions are met:

  1. Design and manufacturing costs are paid by the requesting entity unless the shelter is part of a larger project, such as a bus corridor, transit center or park-and-ride lot owned and maintained by Metro Transit. In such cases, Metro Transit’s contribution toward design and manufacturing will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Maintenance, repair and replacement costs of custom portions of a shelter are paid by the requesting entity.
  2.  Metro Transit may maintain non-custom portions of the shelter if these conditions are met:
    • The requesting entity and Metro Transit sign an agreement outlining shelter maintenance responsibilities;
    • The custom shelter is constructed with glass that meets Metro Transit’s standard glass specifications; and
    • The custom shelter design includes specifications for Metro Transit’s standard customer information holders

Priority #3: Customers with Limited Mobility
By tracking the boarding locations of customers paying fares with limited mobility Go-To Cards, Metro Transit can further prioritize locations based on the number of daily boardings by customers with special needs.

Shelter Removal

When boardings at a stop with a shelter fall below the required number, Metro Transit may move the shelter to a location with higher traffic. These considerations are used in deciding to remove a shelter:

Consideration #1: Few Boardings
Generally, a shelter may be permanently removed if the number of boarding passengers per day is at least 50 percent below the standard. For example:

In a Suburban Location: A transit stop with approximately 12 or fewer boardings per day may be considered for removal.

In Minneapolis or St. Paul: A transit stop with approximately 20 or fewer boardings per day may be considered for removal.

NOTE: Metro Transit may remove a shelter when boardings at the stop are between 50 percent and 100 percent of the standard if other circumstances such as vandalism, space constraints, customer or stakeholder complaints or other incidents warrant.

Consideration #2: Shelter Reaching the End of its Useful Life
When properly maintained, shelters typically have a 20-year life span. A shelter at the end of its useful life may be removed or replaced using these criteria:

Location Meets Boarding Standards: The out-of-date shelter will be replaced with a new or used shelter.

Location Does not Meet Boarding Standards: The out-of-date shelter may be removed. Metro Transit will consider re-installing a new or used shelter at locations where the number of boarding passengers per day is greater than 50 percent of the applicable standard. For example, in suburban locations, the stop must have more than 12 boarding passengers per day and in Minneapolis or St. Paul, more than 20 boarding passengers per day.

NOTE: Metro Transit may not replace a shelter when boardings at the stop are between 50 percent and 100 percent of the standard if other circumstances such as vandalism, space constraints, customer or stakeholder complaints or other incidents warrant.

Consideration #3: Accident or Incident Destroying a Transit Shelter
If a Metro Transit shelter has been damaged due to a vehicle accident or other incident and has potential to create a safety hazard, it will be removed. Metro Transit will use the following criteria to determine whether to replace the shelter at that location:

Location Meets Boarding Requirements: The shelter will be replaced when a new or used shelter becomes available. 

Location Does not Meet Boarding Requirements: The destroyed shelter will be removed and may or may not be replaced. Metro Transit will consider re-installing a new or used shelter at locations where the number of boarding passengers per day is greater than 50 percent of the applicable standard. For example, in suburban locations, the stop must have more than 12 boarding passengers per day and in Minneapolis or St. Paul, more than 20 boarding passengers per day.

NOTE: Metro Transit may not replace a shelter when boardings at the stop are between 50 percent and 100 percent of the standard if other circumstances such as vandalism, space constraints, customer or stakeholder complaints or other incidents warrant.

Consideration #4: Ongoing Vandalism Issues
Shelters damaged by persistent vandalism are resource intensive and are a major constraint on Metro Transit’s maintenance budget. Metro Transit may temporarily or permanently remove a shelter with a high number of vandalism incidents in an attempt to break vandalism patterns.

Consideration #5: Changes in Right-of-Way, Property Ownership or Easements
Changes in property boundaries, easements, roadways or public right-of-way sometimes require Metro Transit to remove a shelter. Metro Transit may replace the removed shelter if the stop meets boarding standards and if there is capacity for a shelter nearby.

Consideration #6: Requests from Transit Customers and Stakeholders
Metro Transit occasionally receives requests and suggestions for removing shelters from certain locations. These requests will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by considering factors outlined above.

Communication of Proposed Shelter Removals

Before a shelter is removed, Metro Transit will communicate the removal in this way:

  • A sign will be posted in the shelter at least two weeks in advance to inform transit customers and the public that the shelter will be removed after a specific date.

  • If the shelter is in a suburb, Metro Transit will notify the affected City Manager that the shelter will be removed, the reasons for it and the proposed date of removal. The notification will be sent by e-mail two weeks in advance of the scheduled removal date.

  • If the shelter is located in the cities of Minneapolis or St. Paul, Metro Transit will notify the affected City Council person(s) and their staff members that the shelter will be removed, the reasons for it and the proposed date of removal. The notification will be sent by e-mail two weeks in advance of the scheduled removal date.

  • If the shelter has been adopted by a volunteer for maintenance, Metro Transit will notify the shelter adopter, via e-mail or telephone, that the shelter is designated for removal, the reasons for it, and the proposed date of removal. The notification will be sent two weeks in advance of the scheduled removal date.

> Learn more about Metro Transit’s Adopt-A-Shelter program

Comments or Concerns

We want to hear from you if there are comments or concerns regarding a shelter placement or removal. Please call Customer Relations at 612-373-3333 or contact us and a staff member will assist you.

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