Skip to main content

Shelter Prioritization

Customer Waiting Shelter Planning and Prioritizing

Customer Waiting Shelters

Customer waiting shelters are covered areas for transit customers intended to create a more comfortable waiting environment by providing protection from wind, rain, snow, and sun. Shelter styles range from being open (with only a roof canopy overhead) to being semi-enclosed structures (with a roof and side walls). Waiting shelters are located at a variety of transit facilities including bus stops, rail stations, transit centers and park-and-rides.

Shelter Ownership and Maintenance
Most of the waiting shelters in the region are owned and maintained by Metro Transit.  Some shelters are privately owned and belong to cities, Suburban Transit Association (STA) providers, private businesses or developments.  Typically, the shelter owner is responsible for maintaining these structures. In some cases Metro Transit may enter into agreements with these owners to assume responsibility for specific shelter elements.

Advertising Shelters
Until recently, privately owned advertising shelters were installed in Minneapolis, St. Paul, West St. Paul and Roseville through individual franchise agreements between the cities and the shelter owner. These agreements allowed the cities to share in the revenue generated in their community by the shelter advertisements. Similar to other privately owned shelters, these advertising shelters were maintained by their owner.  

In July 2014, Metro Transit assumed ownership and maintenance responsibilities for all of the advertising shelters in Minneapolis, and in mid-2015, took ownership of advertising shelters in both St. Paul and West St. Paul. Metro Transit is currently in the process of replacing many of these aging shelters with new shelters.

Custom shelters                             
Metro Transit may consider installing a customized shelter at locations that average at least 100 boardings per day. The requesting party is responsible for design and manufacturing costs, as well as maintenance, repair and replacement costs for custom portions of the shelter, unless the shelter is part of a larger project, such as a bus corridor, transit center or Park & Ride lot owned and maintained by Metro Transit. Metro Transit’s contribution toward design and manufacturing will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  In certain situations, Metro Transit may maintain non-custom portions of a shelter.

Planning and Prioritizing

Not every bus stop has a customer waiting shelter.  Installing and maintaining these shelters are resource intensive.  Metro Transit must prioritize where shelters are located to ensure efficient use of the limited resources dedicated to transit shelter placement and ongoing maintenance.

In addition to the criteria included in Metro Transit’s guidelines for installing and removing shelters, Metro Transit also considers:

Demographics, including race/ethnicity and income status.  These are considered to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Environmental Justice guidance issued in Presidential Executive Order 12898 aimed at addressing disparate impacts on minority and low-income populations.

Transit Transfers.  Customers transferring are likely to be waiting as part of their transit trip, and this information is considered in prioritizing locations for shelter removal or replacement.

Shelter Replacements and Removals

Properly maintained shelters typically have a 20-year life span. Metro Transit regularly replaces shelters at the end of their useful life. When a shelter reaches the end of its useful life, Metro Transit assesses whether it should be replaced with a new shelter or permanently removed.

Metro Transit must sometimes remove or relocate shelters to ensure the highest number of customers is being served with available resources. Before a shelter is removed or relocated, Metro Transit considers the following: 

Low number of average daily boardings – A shelter may be removed if the number of passengers boarding per day is at least 50 percent below the standard. 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.

Shelter reaches the end of its useful life –If a location meets boarding standards, the out-of-date shelter will be replaced with a new or used shelter. If the number of passengers boarding is at least 50 percent below the standard, the out-of-date shelter may be removed.

Shelter is damaged or destroyed – If a shelter has been damaged by a vehicle accident or other incident and has potential to create a safety hazard, it will be removed. If the location meets boarding standards, the shelter will be replaced when a new or used shelter becomes available. If the location has few customer boardings, the destroyed shelter will be removed and may not be replaced. 

Ongoing vandalism – Shelters damaged by persistent vandalism take maintenance staff time away from other needs 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.

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 there is still space for a shelter after changes are made.

Requests from 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.

Communicating about Proposed Shelter Removals

Before a shelter is removed, Metro Transit will notify customers and stakeholders at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled removal date. Notifications will provide an explanation of why the shelter is being removed as well as the earliest proposed removal date.

Customers will be notified through signage or Rider Alerts at the shelter. In suburban locations, Metro Transit will notify the affected City Manager; if the shelter is located in Minneapolis or St. Paul, Metro Transit will notify the affected City Council person(s) and their staff members. If the shelter has been adopted by a volunteer for maintenance, Metro Transit will also notify the shelter adopter. Metro Transit will notify the affected member of the Metropolitan Council.


For more information:

> Shelter Removals and Replacements