One overlooked aspect of bus stop appearance is how well the stop is lighted at night. Although the majority of time is spent considering passengers who use transit during the day during the week, the determining factor as to whether people can be convinced to give up their car permanently is the availability and perception of night and weekend service.
Unfortunately, transit professionals who do not ride transit regularly and do not live in the same area in which they work often have little perception of what it would be like to ride their buses on the weekend and especially at night. Poorly lighted bus stops will at least make passengers feel unsafe, and they are likely to either not take the trip or find another way to travel.
I highly recommend all transit professionals spend some time at night just driving around looking at bus stops, and noting bus stops that need improved lighting. Relatively inexpensive lighting solutions now exist to improve stop lighting, and improving lighting may be as simple as asking the city public works department to redirect existing street lighting.
Before cutting unproductive night service, the transit professional should ask him or herself: would I like to ride transit at this time? If not, then focus effort on improving the evening riding experience. In addition to making bus passengers feel safer, you will likely make pedestrians and cyclists feel safer as well.