A Better Bus Stop: Big Ideas From Transit Riders for a Better Wait

Streetsblog has been calling attention to the dismal state of transit waiting areas with our Sorriest Bus Stop in America tournament. Transit riders have to put up with conditions that no one should stand for — bus stops with nothing to sit on and no shelter, bus stops by dangerous, high-speed roads with no sidewalks, even “secret” bus stops with no visible marker that they exist.

Every bus stop ought to be a safe, comfortable place to wait for the bus, and riders across the country have ideas about how to go a few steps further than that. Bus riders in 10 cities have proposed some creative ways to improve bus stops in the annual “Trick Out My Trip” crowdfunding initiative from ioby (“in our backyards”). Through the end of this week, all the funds raised for these bus stop improvements will receive a match of up to $10,000 from TransitCenter.

Here’s a look at what bus riders are proposing in three cities. You can check out all 10 bus stop ideas (and give generously) at ioby. The matching period ends Friday.

Memphis: Bus Stops as Bike Repair Stations

Cossitt-1

Volunteers in Memphis are raising money to install bike racks and bike repair stations at three bus stops in key locations. These will help address the “last mile” problem by making it easier to bike to the bus.

The Memphians want to add schedule information to stops as well. In their pitch, the team writes:

There is no clear communication around MATA’s scheduling unless you are able to visit one of our transit centers or have internet access to view schedules online. And for a number of Memphians, that can prove to be quite difficult.

Cleveland: Bus Stops as Outdoor Gyms

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Bus Stop Moves,” led by Cleveland resident Ally Lukacsy, will wrap bus shelters with diagrams showing simple exercises riders can do while waiting. The vinyl wraps will be added at 10 bus stops in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity or heart disease. In addition to the exercise diagrams, the displays will show the location of nearby recreation centers and parks.

New Orleans: Bus Shelters With Style

IOBYShelter-Final (002) UGH

The Arts Council of New Orleans wants to enlist creative high school students in the effort to design and build bus stops and shelters on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Right now bus riders have to wait on their feet, exposed to the elements, on this busy transit thoroughfare. The funds raised will provide students who lead the project with a generous stipend for their contribution.

  • Bernard Finucane

    In Germany there is a billboard company (Wall) that maintains bus stops in exchange for the right to post ads.

    https://www.google.de/maps/@51.2325021,6.78766,3a,37.5y,70.52h,74.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sTttvsMQ7FViyuZtYRr2O7Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    Their name is clearly visible here.

  • Elizabeth F

    Why would anyone bike to the bus? Build decent roads and let us bike all the way!

  • Andrew

    The third photo suggests one possible impediment to bus ridership in New Orleans: mirrored bus signage.

  • Alex Gonzalez

    If you’re bus stop is too far from your house and the bus commute takes you to a place that is only accessible via motorized or train access. For example if your point B is located on a highway or at the other side of a tunnel or bridge that isn’t bike friendly.

  • laldm109

    That’s how the JCDecaux contract works in NYC as well

  • vgXhc

    Ugh to the wavy bike rack in the Memphis picture. Non-cyclists love them because they look great on renderings when empty. People actually using them hate them.

  • Alicia

    Huh? Not all trips are within convenient biking distance.

  • Elizabeth F

    True. Except buses are so slow, convenient bus distance is rarely any further. E-bikes make city buses obsolete.

  • Robbie

    My first thought when I saw the picture. Please, everyone, get rid of any thoughts of installing wave racks. And maybe ask well-traveled and experienced bike commuters for advice before installing your rack. I have an entire folder on my computer filled with photos of good racks installed incorrectly and bad racks in bike-heavy areas. It’s really sad. Good intentions, poor execution.

  • Alicia

    I’m in a wasteland of “comb” racks… compared to those things, the 5-10% of racks that are wave racks seem wonderful.

  • Alicia

    … If you’re okay with riding in all weather, if you don’t have any physical difficulties with riding a bike, if you’re not worried about theft of a bike, if you’re not carrying any cargo that won’t fit on your bike rack, et cetera.

    Let’s not set biking against public transportation. I want all places to both have good bicycle access and quality transit services – no false dichotomies, please.

  • Elizabeth F

    > if you don’t have any physical difficulties with riding a bike
    > …riding in all weather

    The people who can’t/won’t ride a bike won’t be using the bike racks at the bus stop.

    The people who do use a bike will only be interested in the bus in a few circumstances: (a) the rare bus that goes a long way quickly, or (b) a bus that crosses a highway bridge/tunnel with no bike access. In both those cases, the bike users will prefer to take their bike on the bus, rather than lock it up at the bus stop. That’s why we have bike racks ON buses.

    Either way, the bike racks at bus stops will go unused. Better to spend the money on bike infrastructure that will improve our lives: for example, safe bike routes on major highways / choke points.

  • User_1

    Anyone here live in a city that has real-time info on where the buses are in the city? How hard can this be nowadays? Yeah it would take some effort putting it together, but the way technology is today, how hard can it be? The bus has a GPS giving real info, showing where it’s at ANY time of the day. Riders should be able to see for example all the buses on a certain line, or if someone is really “abusive”, see all the buses active in their city. The rider should be able to see this on some online map. How hard can this be?

    I’ll take this over some pretty colored bus stop or a bike station at the stop. I am a bike rider too. Personally I would never trust a station to have what I need. I’m always rolling with at least a multi-tool, pump, extra tube and patches, thin extra layer and couple of power bars. Great for someone clueless, but that’s about it.

  • lewis02

    in a time when Cleveland’s RTA is facing serious rate hikes and services cuts, why is a project that reeks of white saviorism receiving any attention at all? so like greater Cleveland to see a project like this as something worth valuing when while the actual service is being chipped away into nothing. let’s face it: no one goes to the bus stop to exercise. in fact, they are likely getting more exercise than the average suburbanite driver sitting in their car for an hour a day because they are actually walking. i wonder if Ally Lukacsy is actually a transit-user. my guess is NO.

  • Kenny Easwaran

    Probably because the cost of wrapping every last bus stop would probably be less than the cost of hiring one more bus driver, which would be needed to move one route from 20 minute frequencies to 15 minute frequencies.

    That said, even if it is really cheap, you’re completely right that bus riders are one of the demographics that least needs this sort of message.

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