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ANC advocating for more bus shelters at DC Council hearing

Santiago Lakatos says he wants to amplify the voices of bus riders in the District.

WASHINGTON — As D.C.'s Department of Transportation prepares to testify before the Council, one Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) plans to bring up an issue that's close to home for him -- a lack of bus shelters.

“I've been a bus rider my whole life, and I've always felt like, our voices haven't been amplified," Santiago Lakatos, ANC for 1B04.

Lakatos said the city needs to invest more of its resources into the bus transportation system, particularly in ramping up its bus shelters.

"There's an inadequate amount of bus shelters in the District, and that's because the District relies on advertising revenue, and an agreement with a third party to build bus shelters rather than building it themselves," Lakatos said. "It's considering bus shelters as you know, something that's not necessarily as worthy of a dedicated infrastructure funding like road maintenance, bridge construction and other types of dedicated infrastructure funding that the District budgets for."

Lakatos is referring to a 2005 agreement with media corporation Clear Channel.

In exchange for building 788 new and 400 replacement bus shelters, Clear Channel was granted exclusive advertising rights.

Lakatos said he discovered that DDOT ran out of that initial allotment and now installs new bus shelters as part of capital projects.

The agreement is up in 2025, and D.C. could renew as early as next year.

"Bus riders are overwhelmingly people of color. A majority of us riders in the District are socio-economically disadvantaged," Lakatos said. "They deserve to have their voice brought to a higher level. I'm not a councilmember, but I can use my voice in that way."

He wants DDOT to invest its own money to install more bus shelters – not just relying on Clear Channel – because he calls them a critical piece of social infrastructure.

The oversight hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. You can watch here.

Lakatos said he's also planning to talk about delays in simple safety improvements that he says still haven’t been made to certain dangerous streets and intersections after multiple requests from residents.

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