Although Nevada has a growing number of selfless “green activists” who are willing to make personal sacrifices of comfort and commuting ease in order to reduce their impact on the environment, the reality remains that most bus riders in the state of Nevada are not passengers by choice but rather by necessity. Relying on public transportation means not having to worry about parking or auto insurance, but it also means not being able to move on your own precise schedule or travel rapidly from one end of Clark County to the other. As a recent news article explores, other factors increase the risk of Nevada public transit injuries.
A reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal shines light on the discomfort that can accompany regular bus ridership. Anyone who has experienced an automobile defect or other problem that has forced them to walk several miles in the Las Vegas heat can attest that a little bit of shelter goes a long way. In the summer, the situation is little different in Northern Nevada, where temperatures can easily reach the high 90s or even triple-digits. But in the north, the winter is equally punishing with frequent snowstorms, heavy rain, and powerful winds whipping off the Sierra Nevada mountains. As the RGJ article points out, relatively inexpensive bus shelters would give regular bus riders a safe haven from the elements while waiting for the bus to arrive, preventing this chronic form of Nevada public bus harm.
These conditions also raise the issue of accessibility, because there are some Nevadans whose age or physical condition makes it very difficult to withstand prolonged, daily exposure to this kind of stress. Recent studies suggest that fewer than ten percent of bus stops in Northern Nevada have bus shelters, even though administrators of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) have been talking about building more shelters for several years. Although the RTC says that the shortfall is due to dollars rather than desire, critics point to Reno’s new massive public transit center that cost some $15 million and argue that more shelters would cost a pittance by comparison.
As this story shows, the line between comfort and safety can be a thin one. Transit officials rightly point out that shelters need not only be purchased but also cleared with zoning restrictions and negotiated past the interests of local property owners. On the other hand, the ability to demarcate a bus stop with a metal pole and a sign permits the marginalization of bus transit relative to automobiles and creates dangerous conditions that cause Nevada mass transit accidents. The Silver State is by no means immune to this kind of tragedy, despite having a relatively suburban and ex-urban population. If you or a loved one have been hurt on a Nevada public bus or other public transit, contact us today to learn about your legal rights.