FAIRBANKS — The wind, rain, snow and ice won’t be quite as much of a nuisance for bus riders in Fairbanks and North Pole.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly voted this week to build up to 20 bus stop shelters, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
The first five shelters will go up this summer, including ones at the Noel Wien Public Library in Fairbanks and the North Pole Mall.
They are projected to cost about $30,000 each with another $15,000 to $19,000 added for five shelters that will have electricity. The power is for lighting and for reader boards or television monitors alerting bus riders of whether their bus is on time.
“I hope we can do it in the most cost-effective way so we can get the most stops,” Assemblyman John Davies said.
He joined seven other members in approving the project at the assembly’s regular meeting on Thursday.
Assemblymen Michael Dukes and Lance Roberts voted no. Roberts said retail store entryways make for good shelters.
“I think we are going too far and trying to do too much,” Roberts said.
The public transportation system is known as MACS — Metropolitan Area Commuter System — and ridership increased 9.3 percent in 2012 and 11.1 percent in 2013.
The aluminum and Plexiglas shelters are a scaled-back design. Transportation officials last year considered custom log bus-stop shelters, but they estimated price tag — $80,000 apiece — was deemed too expensive.
Transportation officials have identified nearly 50 stops in need of a shelter.
Assembly members said the snow and ice makes some bus stops inaccessible. Davies said he almost slid under a bus at one of them.
Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison agreed: “If we are going to offer bus service, we need to have adequate stops.”