On May 12 the city of Indianapolis snatched 350 benches from under the behinds of bus riders, and targeted dozens more for removal. It turns out that many of the benches at city bus stops had been placed there, without the proper permits, by companies hoping to sell ad space on the backrests. Worse, the deputy director of the Department of Public Works thought they were tacky.
"They aren't pleasant-looking," Kyle Walker complained to the Indianapolis Star. Walker said he has received "nothing but complaints" about the alleged eyesores. After the bench roundup, the contraband seating was dumped unceremoniously in city parks, where the benches will be painted green to obscure the names of the companies that paid for them.
"These are illegal benches," Director of Code Enforcement Emily Mack told a local television station. "They are placed in the public right of way, and a vendor is profiting off of this. The city has no oversight and no benefit." Never mind the benefit to the city's weary bus riders. At press time, Indianapolis had 4,000 bus stops but only 218 approved shelters with benches.