Continued Backlash Against Cemusa Newsstands and Bus Shelters

Posted on: August 7th, 2012 at 6:28 am by
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Neighborhood newsstands as we once knew them are all but dead. Bulldozed and replaced with antiseptic glass. And while the new sidewalk facilities might be larger, reliability seems suspect.

Many small-time operators around town are unhappy with the crop of soulless Cemusa street furniture that the city continues to force-feed down our collective throats. For the last few months, there’s been steady grassroots momentum to expose the seemingly constant stream of issues with this new infrastructure.

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One Boogie reader sent along a crib sheet of problem newsstands around the city. Below are some examples closer to home:

Newsstand at Bowery and Canal : Missing roof glass (from June 2012)

Newsstand @ Bowery and Grand Street: Ping, the owner, has many problems with her kiosk. It leaks when it rains. Door lock is broken, storage units are broken, falling. Rubber piece of rolling door is missing. The bottom stainless steel piece is loose and each time someone accidentally hits it, it makes a loud noise. Sliding glass pane is sticky and hard to move around. Cemusa sends the crew to maintain and clean this unit less than once a month!

Newsstand – Delancey and Bowery: It sowner Ajat B is crying because he is so frustrated with DOT and Cemusa. IT LEAKS, AFTER 3 YEARS, STILL LEAKS. It leaks from door side. The front of the unit has never been cleaned by Cemusa or anyone else. The power outlets are not working.

Meanwhile, the official Comptroller’s Audit Report on Cemusa was released to the public a few weeks ago regarding the bus shelter brethren, delivering a rather unfavorable review. Under the franchise agreement in place, the Spanish-based company is required to, “at its own expense, to clean, inspect, and maintain the structures in good repair.” The report found that:

For the audit test period, Cemusa’s subcontractor, DynaServ, did not service (inspect and clean) the bus stop shelters at the level required. DynaServ’s productivity expectations (the number of shelters that can be cleaned by each crew in one shift) are overly optimistic and DynaServ has not allocated sufficient resources to ensure that each shelter will be cleaned twice each week on non-consecutive days as required. The audit also showed that Cemusa’s other subcontractor, Pipeline, needed to improve its performance in regard to responding promptly and repairing reported defective conditions. Further, there was insufficient evidence that all electrical inspections were carried out as reported. Based on these and additional factors discussed herein, we lack reasonable assurance that the bus stop shelters are serviced in accordance with Cemusa’s franchise agreement with DOT.

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