Halifax Transit stands behind glass shelters after vandalism spree

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Halifax Transit stands behind glass shelters after vandalism spree

The municipality of Halifax says glass remains the material of choice and the industry standard for bus shelters despite a weekend vandalism spree that saw some panels in 29 of the structures smashed to bits.

"It's the most transparent material," said Tiffany Chase, a city spokesperson. "This way, passengers can see the bus coming, what the bus number is, as well as bus operators being able to see that someone is waiting for the bus."

Vandals smashed glass panels late Friday night and into Saturday morning at shelters near the Armdale roundabout on Herring Cove, Purcells Cove, St. Margarets Bay, Quinpool and Mumford roads.

Older-style concrete shelters may appear more durable but Chase said they present safety risks because people waiting inside can't be seen from the outside, which also means they can't see what's happening around them.

What about Plexiglas?

Chase said shelters using Plexiglas for the panels have been tested, but they also pose a number of problems.

"Plexiglass can be burned, it can be scratched and it can also fade and become cloudy, so that visibility aspect can wear over time," she said.

As well, if Plexiglas is smashed, it breaks into sharp pieces, whereas the glass the shelters use turns into small beads.

The vandalism means bus riders will have to wait out in the cold until the shelters are repaired. They remained largely inaccessible Monday, with many filled with broken glass.

A full shelter can cost $6,000 to replace. It's not yet known how much it will cost to fix the damaged shelters as not all of the panes were destroyed.

Video surveillance

Chase said the city hasn't considered whether to put cameras in bus shelters, but it's something that might be looked at in the future.

She said if people have any information about the vandalism, they should notify police.

A volunteer with a group that advocates for better public transit in Halifax said he has a hard time understanding why someone would cause the vandalism.

"It's frustrating, it's needless, it makes no sense, it's extremely expensive for this city, it's bad for anyone who has to use those bus stops," said Scott Edgar of It's More Than Buses.

Halifax police say the investigation is ongoing.