SLC bus stop removed due to safety concerns, including alleged drug deals in area

Posted at 9:22 PM, Feb 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-13 23:22:13-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- While buses come and go from downtown Salt Lake City all day, you’ll be left waiting awhile if you’re looking for a ride near 450 West 200 South.

“Where is the bus?” asked one customer, named Justin.

Unbeknownst to most people who use it, the bus is no longer making the stop.

“It’s kind of inconvenient for those of us who aren’t from Salt Lake,” Justin said. “You know, we come out here and we see these blue signs and we expect, OK, let’s get on the bus.”

In the last couple weeks, UTA removed the pole and sign and notified drivers to just keep on driving past the area, a decision they claim is aimed at making it a safer ride for everyone.

“We’ve had operators that have been concerned about their safety,” said UTA Spokesman Remi Barron.

According to Barron, the problem started about 100 yards down the road, where crowds from the nearby Road Home shelter began overflowing into their customer base.

“Obviously, it’s a facility there that services the homeless and it’s turned into a major gathering point, right there on that street, right by our bus stop,” Barron said. “We’ve had complaints from passengers who said they have been threatened or harassed or witnessed some kind of a drug transaction.”

On any given day, customers would report incidents like one FOX 13 News caught on camera, a quick sale just a few feet from the stop.

“I’ve seen people yell and scream at these bus drivers when they really don’t deserve it,” shelter resident Kevin Flowers said. “They’re the ones taking us to and from work.”

But not everyone is taking that route with their life, as other residents point out.

“There’s always going to be problems around here, but you can’t take away from people that want to do the right thing,” said Steve Bumpers, who has stayed at the shelter in the past.

According to Bumpers, removing the stop isn’t stopping the problem, just allowing it to continue on 200 South as the buses pass by.

“They’re trying to do the best they can, and everybody is getting punished for something a few people on that corner are doing,” Bumpers said.

The bus stop was located in a free fare zone. Barron said there are still stops within that zone, located just a couple blocks away.