“Sorriest Bus Stops” Contest Final Pits Cincinnati vs. Vancouver

Cincinnati vs. vancouver

After weeks and weeks of terrible, depressing bus stops, it’s time for the championship match at Streetsblog’s beloved Sorriest Bus Stop in (North) America™ Competition.

The two cities left standing from more than 40 nominees are Vancouver and Cincinnati.

Make sure to vote below after reading the stories of how these bus stops came to be so damn sorry. First up…


Cincinnati bus stop

This stop on Daly Road in Springfield Township, just outside Cincinnati, is dreadful. The only way to get to it is crossing a busy street, and once there, bus riders have no space place to wait, unless they are willing to mount the guardrail and wait in the weeds. If they use a wheelchair, it’s practically a death sentence.

And not only for wheelchair users. On Monday, 15-year-old high school student Gabriella Rodriguez was killed in Cincinnati by a hit-and-run driver as she tried to reach a city bus stop similar to this. Now, Rodriguez wasn’t killed at the sorry stop above, but her death is a reminder that, while this contest is lighthearted, these terrible bus stops, and thousands of stops like them, are a life-and-death matter.

No wonder Cincinnati destroyed New Orleans in the Final Four, with 72% of the vote.

We reached out to both Springfield Township and the local transit agency, SORTA, for a statement about this stop. A SORTA spokesman said:

It is our practice to have parallel bus stops for inbound and outbound service on the same street, so that a customer would be able to de-board near the proximate location of their origin on their return trip. However, due to the limited infrastructure (sidewalks, etc.) available in this neighborhood there were limited options in regards to an ideal location to place this bus stop. We are currently in the process of conducting a bus stop optimization project and will be evaluating all of the bus stops in our service area, including this one, to determine ideal placement.

Springfield Township told us the road was Hamilton County’s responsibility. In Ohio, suburbs that don’t incorporate and remain townships are able to offload a lot of their road maintenance responsibilities to the county. Hamilton County has not responded to a request for comment.

Local activist Cam Hardy, president of the Better Bus Coalition, has pointed out the low social status of the average Cincinnati bus rider is part of allows local leaders to ignore conditions like this. Median earnings of Cincinnati transit riders are just $15,600. County Commissioners in Hamilton County — led by President Todd Portune — recently punted on seeking additional revenue through a countywide levy. SORTA is facing a $38-million annual deficit.


vancouver bus stop

Now let’s talk about this bad bus stop in Vancouver, which beat its Final Four challenger, Pittsburgh, with 59% of the vote. Its inclusion in this competition has inspired significant coverage up north, with CBC  and the Vancouver Courirer doing their own stories about this sorry stop.

Officials, overall, have been apologetic. Here’s what the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had to say about this stop on the Lougheed Highway.

The decision to designate this a bus stop was made by TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company (one of TransLink’s operating companies).

It’s concerning to hear that people using this bus stop don’t feel safe, and appreciate that this photo has been brought to our attention. We are in the process of setting up meetings with TransLink and the Coast Mountain Bus company to see what we can do to make the bus stop more adequate.

These meetings will take place in the near future, and we’ll be discussing possible options for improving safety either at this particular bus stop location or finding a better alternative to this location – as long as there’s pedestrian connectivity and it’s still convenient for transit users.

Jason Lee, who submitted this stop, says the problem isn’t money:

Immediately to the northwest of this stop is the Pitt River Bridge. In 2009, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure completed a rebuilding of the bridge and an associated interchange at a cost of C$198 million. Just down the road in the opposite direction, the Ministry is currently creating an auxiliary lane – ostensibly to improve safety for commercial vehicles leaving a rail yard – at a cost C$6.2 million. Despite spending over C$200 million on this section of Lougheed Highway, there did not seem to be sufficient resources to improve safety for pedestrians and transit riders.

With that, we’ll leave it to you, dear readers. Voting ends Thursday at 11 p.m. Eastern time. The results will be published Friday morning. Streetsblog wishes both stops — and, more important, their users — the best of luck. May the sorriest bus stop win.


31 thoughts on “Sorriest Bus Stops” Contest Final Pits Cincinnati vs. Vancouver

  1. At first glance, it’s gotta be Cincinnati, because that’s an impossible place to wait. But if you take a wider look, it’s Vancouver because you have to cross an uncrossable highway to get there. Sure, you have a comfy yard of space once you get there, but I bet you don’t get there. Cincinnati’s Daly Road looks downright pleasant by comparison.

  2. This was really a hard choice. They are both horrible place to wait! At least the Vancouver one is “buffered” by a bus lane, though accessing the stop looks to be a great challenge. Thankfully there’s a light at that intersection that’s not too far away.

    The Cincinnati one was the winner for me because there’s literally no room to safely stand to avoid passing traffic. If you sit on the barrier and lean too far back, you fall down a hill! At least crossing that roadway looks easier.

  3. I voted Cincinnati because the people in Vancouver seem to care a lot more about transit and safety than the people in Ohio. The vancouver stop is in a bus only lane, and this article said they are already trying to fix the stop, As for riders in Ohio… they are being abandoned

  4. I definitely voted Vancouver b/c Cincinnati seemed to at least be on a two-lane road across fro a tree lawn – the bus stop ostensibly across the street from this sidewalk. Vancouver was across several lanes of a divided highway! How does someone even GET to that bus stop???

  5. Here’s the location of the “Vancouver” stop – it shouldn’t even exist. It’s not adjacent to anything one would walk to/from to ride a bus. Though, it is adjacent to the Trans Canada Trail (bike trail) which might account for someone’s thinking.


  6. Hamilton County is “levied” out. We’ve been foolishly deceived by the cronies in the NFL (who aren’t holding up their end of the contract yet nothing is done about it) to build an overpriced and seldom used stadium, and the city just repeated the mistake-a proportion of the cost to build another stadium for FC Cincinnati is public money (Paul Brown Stadium was built to accommodate a soccer team btw). So yeah, lots and lots of levies get “punted”.
    As it says in the article, this stop is in the townships. Only the city contributes to Metro. Not that I wish for anyone to get hurt, but to be frank, you get what you pay for.

  7. As a rider of Cincinnati’s public transit (I study at the design college in Cincinnati, Ohio) I can confirm that the transit situation there is dire. I personally have never been to Vancouver, but the Canadian cities I have visited are Toronto and Montreal which both seemed to have better transit that most US cities, even compared to NYC and Chicago.

  8. I picked Cincinnati for two reasons. 1: I live here and there are many stops worst than this. Being the loser might get more awareness and acton to fix. 2: In the responses, Vancouver at least sounds like they have a real plan to fix the problem. Cincinnati just came up with excuses and played the blame game. The picture also shows the stop with Daly Rd recently re-paved so it’s pretty much set in stone for some 20 years.

  9. Agreed. I’ve lived in both cities for 8+ yrs each. Yes Vancouver is light years ahead of all of Ohio for mass transit. They have the longest automated metro system in the world (Skytrain). This is just a random poorly placed stop on a major highway.

  10. I would say it’s in the contest because the side of a highway is not a safe place for a bus stop. Even if there’s a “Bus Lane” designation, there’s too many vehicles using it to speed pass on the right to wait safely on the road side of the barrier. You must wait on the back of the barrier, which makes the bus inaccessible to a significant portion of the bus ridership (kids, elderly, infirm, people with walkers, strollers, carrying things, etc.). You can’t claim an accessible transit system if you can’t get to the bus.

    Vancouver happily spends billions on shiny Skytrains in one of the rainiest cities in North America while neglecting bus stops: no rain shelter, no access, etc.

  11. It’s not a great bus stop. Lougheed is dangerous. I’m not going to debate you on that. I sense from prior comments in this thread that those in Ohio or aware of its situation are lamenting their mass transit system (lack there of) has a whole. In Vancouver / Lower Mainland, we have this on one or a few unfortunate stops in the burbs. I guess that’s the contest… worst stop. But if the convo is on systems as a whole, Ohio has it WAY worse.

  12. I can’t say I’m familiar with either stop, but go-metro reports the Cincinnati stop as being served by 2 bus lines, 20 stops/day. Translink says Vancouver’s stop also is served by 2 bus lines but has 20 stops by 7:30am and 115 all day.

    The adjacent stops in Cincinnati is 0.3 mile before and 0.1 miles after, both very safe spots. Meanwhile, Vancouver’s are 1.5 miles before and 1.2 after, limiting options.

    With no safe alternative, I’m going guess Vancouver’s stop gets at least as much use.

  13. Thanks. That context helps. Although, from the overhead view, it looks like you have to cross three times to get there. (Also, they should rethink putting a feedlot right there in a highway travel lane 🙂 )

  14. It’s worth noting that the Vancouver stop is a MAJOR stop. It’s surrounded by industrial businesses and there are up to three dozen people waiting there, on the shoulder of Lougheed HIGHWAY, at peak times.

    The Cincinnati stop looks like a residential area.

    The first time I drove Lougheed at rush hour it was boggling to see a few dozen commuters standing on the highway shoulder. I thought something had happened.

  15. A lot of people use that bus stop, there are many industrial businesses and factories and such near there that employee workers. Lots of assembly and Warehouse type jobs out there, that don’t pay enough to drive to work. used to drive out to Maple Ridge for work once a day, always people at that bus stop, often a line during Peak.

  16. there is a crosswalk, but I have definitely seen people doggin it across all six lanes and hopping the barrier into Center, when the bus is approaching.

  17. Hamilton Co./Cincinnati is a welfare area for sports stadiums while thousands of jobs can not be reached by bus. Benches are being put up by a group of activists, not the bus system. We win!

  18. I live in Vancouver and can attest to how awful that stop is. That said, the Cincinnati one looks even worse. Especially if the road is half as busy as the article says. My vote goes to Cincinnati (though it was close)

  19. wtf are you talking about? surrounded by industrial businesses? it’s surrounded by a rail yard on one side, and farms on the other. three dozen people waiting?? I drive past this stop 4 times a day, during peak travel times, and have never seen this.

  20. many industrial businesses and factories?? there’s a train yard, gas station, landscaper and a trailer repair shop.

  21. Yes. Pitt Meadows is part of the Greater Vancouver Area and I’ve had to spend a lot of time in that area because of work.

  22. In contrary to what BC MoT said in the response.. the stop was originally there before the $198 million new bridge. It seems like whoever design the new bridge just “forgot” to incorporate the non-auto users. The stop was placed there as a replacement of the original, much safer stop that was removed due to the upgrade:

    That’s why I voted Vancouver.. Lots of money spent on that stretch of road, but they cannot even properly rebuild or at least aware of a bus stop that was there for decades.

  23. I can see Daly Road from my front yard, although it’s a section several miles from this sorry bus stop. I also travel Daly frequently in the direction of that stop. While I agree it’s an embarrassing example of rider service here, I voted for Vancouver.

    First, the idea of a stop which offers NO room off the road to stand – it would be possible to clamber over the guardrail in Cincinnati but likely not to vault the concrete barriers in Vancouver – is terrifying. Second, knowing Daly as well as I do, I don’t think there’s any comparison as far as traffic volume is concerned. It looks like the street of Vancouver’s nightmare virtually serves as a freeway; the street containing Cincinnati’s passes through a county park and older, very suburbanish neighborhoods. Public transit has struggled forever here, due in large part to the adversarial relationship that has existed since Boss Cox’s time between the city (which encompasses the vast majority of the route miles served by Queen City Metro) and the county, which prefers to pay for nothing. It doesn’t help that city council is usually majority Democrat (with help from the local Charter Party) and the county commission is usually majority Republican. The stuff from which metropolitan government is forged…

  24. Not sure I see a connection between resurfacing a street and moving a bus stop. How many times in the last few years have you seen street excavation for sewer work, followed by resurfacing after the project is “finished”, followed in a few months by more excavation in the same area, with more giant sections of tile lining the shoulder waiting to be buried? Things are done shortly after repaving all the time and often are more intrusive than painting over a bus stop marker and hanging two signs (one for the old stop and one for the new). For example, I travel Winton Road frequently and would estimate there has been some level of road work underway 3-4 separate times in the last 2-3 years just in the section between North Bend and Spring Grove (probably less than 2 miles long).

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