As big cities privatize bus shelters, Minneapolis moves them to government control

Source: Maya Rao, Star Tribune, February 12, 2014

Big cities around the country are striking deals with private companies to run their bus shelters, but Minneapolis leaders think the government can do it better. Minneapolis is shifting management of nearly 180 privately owned bus shelters to Metro Transit, which already owns nearly two-thirds of the shelters in the Twin Cities. In doing so, it will lose a cut of the revenue from ads for such things as iPhones, beer, luxury apartments and more. The end of the longtime agreement with CBS Outdoor follows complaints about the upkeep from lingering graffiti, loose glass and a “nightmare” shelter with missing panels, rust and faded scribblings. … The practice has raised some controversy. In 2012, an audit by the New York City comptroller found that Spanish company Cemusa was not maintaining bus shelters as it agreed to in a $1 billion agreement, with subcontractors falling short. News reports also said Cemusa was not properly shoveling snow at the stops. …