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Hillcrest bus stops are a mess: MTS responds

One of many Hillcrest bus stops caked in filth.
Photo credit:
Benjamin Nicholls

The pubic Facebook group “Clean Up Hillcrest,” has a question for San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) about why some of their bus stops in Hillcrest are squalid.    

Benjamin Nicholls, Executive Director of the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) and member of “Clean Up Hillcrest” posted a picture of one of the bench stops which looks as though it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks.

“I'm amazed at how MTS lets their bus stops become so filthy,” Nicholls wrote in a Sept. 7 post. “The HBA pressure washes this location each month and it's disgusting only a few days later. No wonder people don't want to ride the bus.”

According to MTS, Nicholls' concerns aren't limited to Hillcrest. 

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reached out to MTS’ media contact Robert Schupp with a few questions about the clean-up and upkeep of their stops.

 “People don’t have much respect for public property anymore,” Schupp said.

He says that shelters are cleaned every other day and bus bench areas every week.

Schupp recalls one stop in East Village that needed to be cleaned every two hours because of human feces, trash, vomit, food and discarded needles.

“As soon as we’d clean it, people would throw all their unwanted stuff there, knowing we’d take it away.”

He says it was a no-win situation that ultimately resulted in removal of the shelter.

Nicholls’ post pinpointed five trouble spots around the area which seem to have the most problems with cleanliness: Fifth and Robinson, Fifth and University, Fourth and University, University and Tenth, Park and University.

Of those five only two, Fifth and University and Universtiy and Tenth have shelters. 

We questioned Schupp about what exactly workers do and what they are responsible for when cleaning the stops.

He said, "Trash pick-up, graffiti removal, power washing when necessary." 

We then asked him if pressure washing included the sidewalks around the stops.

He said there is a difference when it comes to cleaning a stop that has a shelter and one that only has a bench. 

"We only pressure wash around shelters. It includes the sidewalk immediately adjacent to the shelter," he said. "Our new contract for bench maintenance, that begins next year, will include pressure washing." 

When we asked about the overly-dirty stops in Hillcrest, he re-iterated his previous response.

“Clean shelters every other day. Benches once a week,” he said. “If there is a problem area, let us know. We will try to resolve it.”  

Nicholls suggests you do just that if you have concerns about a stop in your area, "Call MTS customer service at 557-4555 and let them know about the one you think is most disgusting!"