General Manager’s Statement on Leaning Benches

Mountain Line was recently made aware of complaints regarding leaning benches at three bus stops in our system. Our agency is always tasked with trying to balance the needs of various interests, and this balancing act is never easy. Accessibility and the safety of our riders are just a few of the concerns we grapple with everyday. The benches in question were installed at three bus shelters on W. Broadway in early 2018. This action was in response to frequent, almost daily, complaints at these shelters, from riders and local residents alike, of litter, public drunkenness, illicit drug use, and people sleeping in bus shelters. Missoula Police were contacted on several occasions to deal with individuals who refused to move at the request of our staff and became belligerent. Divided benches were used, but they were continually vandalized. Since the installation of the leaning benches, these problems have decreased substantially, but we may have unintentionally created another problem in its place.

In the past few days, many people, both in Missoula and elsewhere, have expressed their dislike of the design of these benches. Upon hearing the concerns of the public, it is apparent that our solution may have not been the best remedy to these problems. In response, we are examining other ways to ensure the safety of our riders while keeping our stops accessible and friendly. We ask for your patience we continue to work through this process and thank you to those who have voiced their concerns.

Sincerely,

Corey Aldridge

Mountain Line General Manager