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New York bus shelter safety inspection underway

A roof collapse at a bus shelter in New York City in early October has led to a safety inspection of shelters across the city. The company that owns the city's 3,500 bus shelters announced on Oct. 15 that it had cordoned off 1,400 shelters as part of its ongoing inspections.

Under a 20-year franchise agreement with the city, JCDecaux is responsible for the maintenance of the city's bus shelters, newsstands and automated public toilets. The company says that corroded bolts were found in a shelter where the roof folded down against the back wall. No one was in that Staten Island shelter at the time of the incident, but it prompted the company to launch an inspection of all shelters.

The first wave of the inspection focuses on 2,500 shelters that have an older design. Of the first 1,000 shelters inspected, about 3 percent were found to show corrosion and were repaired. A spokesman for JCDecaux says that the inspections are expected to be completed in a week, and any necessary repairs are expected to be completed within one month.

The Department of Transportation said it agrees with JCDecaux's handling of the situation. In an official statement, DOT said it holds the company accountable for quickly completing the inspections and making repairs in order to return the shelters to normal use.

If a person should be injured while sitting in a bus shelter, on a bus, on a subway train or in a subway terminal, or if someone is injured in a city bus accident, seeking compensation could involve filing a claim against the city. Filing a lawsuit against a municipal entity is very different from filing against a private company or an individual. Municipalities are immune to certain types of lawsuits. When filing a claim is possible, there may be extra steps require or deadlines that do not exist in other civil lawsuits.

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