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Frank Gray

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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
This Citilink stop at Apple Glen is to get a hut, a relief for a woman whose daughter has seizures and can’t drive.

Hazard at bus stop remedied quickly

Dealing with the government or some agency within the government is never a lot of fun.

Low-level bureaucrats can be remarkably indifferent, and “We don’t have anything to do with that” is a quick out when someone asks for relief of one type or another.

It never hurts to ask, though.

So here’s a lesson to be learned.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a woman wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the bus stop at Apple Glen and what is called Wal-Mart entrance drive, a stop that many motorists might have never noticed as they try to maneuver through traffic at the shopping centers.

The bus stop was out in the open, just a grassy patch on the corner, and a grassy patch of sloping land at that. It is an uncomfortable and dangerous spot even in good weather, much less in the rain or in winter. Couldn’t something be done to remedy this situation, the letter writer asked.

Well, the short answer for the Citilink folks could have been, “We don’t have anything to do with that,” and, in fact, they don’t have anything to do with it. Citilink has at least 1,112 bus stops around the city and it owns a handful of bus shelters, but Citilink doesn’t get involved in putting up new shelters.

Instead, Betsy Kachmar, assistant general manager at Citilink, contacted an outfit called Metro Media Partners. Metro Media Partners is run by a guy named Eric Shippy, who bought the local bus hut business from its previous owner a while back. Could Shippy look into this, Kachmar asked.

Well, there was a problem. The land where the bus stops in question are located is private property. Shippy couldn’t just throw up a new bus hut. He had to get permission, and the owner of the land would certainly want some compensation for use of the land. After all, Shippy would be making money off it from advertising.

Additionally, Shippy had spoken to the owners about a bus hut at that spot a month ago, but nothing ever happened.

But Shippy decided to try again. “I pushed a little harder,” he said, and a deal was struck.

“We got it resolved pretty quick,” Shippy said. “There’s value for me, there’s value for the property management, and we’re able to deliver a service.”

The woman who wrote the original letter to the editor was delighted when she heard the news. You see, her daughter was one of the people who had to stand and sit at the bus stop there. She was born with a birth defect and has seizures and can’t drive, so she has to rely on the bus. At least now she’d have a place to sit and a place to get out of the rain.

Well, she will soon. It’s getting cold and the new hut might not be able to go up until early spring, but if there’s a warm spell, he might be able to squeeze in the work, Shippy said.

The point is, the deal came together, and fast.

“I was shocked myself,” Kachmar said.

It just goes to show, complaining helps – sometimes.

“I can’t fix it if it’s not broken,” Kachmar said.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at fgray@jg.net. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.

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