Mesa has installed a pair of bus shelters where no buses run — a $32,000 expense that comes as the city cuts transit funding to save money.
One of the shelters has been moved, but still sits idle. Its new home is 10 feet from the original location.
Confused riders frequently waited at a shelter on Broadway Road near 63rd Street, said Vance Chapman, the contractor who moved it.
“What time does the bus come by?” they’d ask him.
“Never,” he'd reply.
The other unused bus shelter also is on Broadway, but just east of Recker Road. The city's engineers didn't know the bus route didn't go by the shelters when they planned a $7.7 million reconstruction of Broadway Road that wrapped up last July, said Jeff Kramer, Mesa's deputy engineer for design.
"It slipped through all of us and didn't get caught until after the fact," Kramer said.
Mesa provides bus service along Broadway Road, but the eastbound route turns north on Recker Road — before it reaches the two shelters — so it can head toward a hospital and medical buildings.
Engineers didn't have the city's transportation office review the bus shelters, Kramer said, because the structures were such a small component of a complex project. He also attributed the oversight to turnover with the contracting company and in the city's engineering department.
Rene Scharber and her husband paid thousands last year to have the one shelter moved because it was too close to the driveway for the East Valley Hearing Centers they were planning.
Scharber said the city originally agreed to move the shelter 10 feet to the east, but it installed the structure in the original location.
Her business split the $6,540 cost of moving the shelter with another business that owns the building, she said. "We didn't realize it until we were close to moving in, and then we were really angry," Scharber said. "We felt the city should reimburse us for moving a shelter they're not even going to use."
The city poured the concrete for the shelter before a developer submitted plans for the building, assistant city engineer Peter Knudson said. The developer could have designed the project differently without having to move the shelter, he said.
"I don't believe it was an error," Knudson said.
The city has posted signs on the shelters that state the structures aren't on a bus route. Riders often don't spot them right away, Scharber said.
"We see people there daily waiting for a bus until they notice the sign is there and they realize it's not a working bus stop," Scharber said.
The city probably will move the shelters because it doesn't expect demand will warrant stops where the shelters are, transit administrator Jim Wright said. The city is researching the cost of a move — a concern after the city cut $82,000 for this year's bus service and is cutting $85,000 for the fiscal year that starts in July.
The shelters — including their benches and garbage cans — are bolted in place and can be moved easily, Kramer said.
"The only thing that won't be salvageable is a couple bolts," Kramer said.