Back in May Auckland Transport announced that they were going to trial three different bus shelter designs on Symonds St. They are seeking public feedback on them with the intention of eventually rolling out the winning design across the region.

Yesterday I decided to go and check out the three options and all three shelters I liked and didn’t like about them.

Shelter A

This was my favourite when AT initially announced the designs and one of the reasons is it was quite different to what we’re used to seeing. Some commented in the original post that the wood would make it feel too dark and be less safe compared to the greater use of glass in the other designs. Personally I really like the addition of the wood including the structural support with the engraved Pohutukawa motif.

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter A

I guess the only concern was the size of the glass on the front of the shelter for those times when the rain is coming in sideways.

Shelter B

This one is perhaps a bit of a dark horse. I thought it looked bland and boring in the initial images but it turns out it’s a case of actually having to see it in the flesh. Even the photo below doesn’t really highlight it that well. The real design feature is above the shelter with the roof having quite a retro feel to it, curved at the front and with fins out the back. The front kind of reminded me of an old tram. The shelter itself has a heap of seating and one big glass panel for those really rainy days which is good.

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter B

The biggest issue with this shelter is how well the retro design holds up over time. It’s cool now but will it still be in 10 years-time? (Although I guess you could say this about all the designs). Because it’s hard to get the feeling for the shelter in this image the one below is the render from the AT Website which shows the design feature a bit better.

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter B - Major

Shelter C

In our poll Shelter C was the second most popular design due to it appearing to have more design to it than B and more glass than A. In real life I didn’t really like the design that much and it seemed a bit busy and not that inviting. Perhaps it is too similar to what we’re used to seeing. Also like Shelter A it only had two small glass walls on the front to protect from heavy rain. One aspect I really did like though was the panel at the end of the shelter which was used to give more information. In particular I liked how it laid out the areas the buses that use the stop serve.

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter C

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter end wall

Just for a comparison, here’s what the old shelters look like.

Bus Shelter Trial - Existing Shelters

After viewing them in person I still think that Shelter A is my favourite, Shelter B lifted itself to my second favourite leaving Shelter C as my least favourite.

But not all bus stops are created equal, most will be much smaller than the ones above while stops in Neighbourhoods are likely to be larger. The images below are the renders for the other versions of each design.

Minor Stops

A trial of these shelters is being installed at the Silverdale Park & Ride, presumably until the full station is built.

Shelter A

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter A - Minor

Shelter B

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter B - Minor

Shelter C

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter C - Minor

I think Shelter B carries the design idea through the best while Shelter A seems pretty standard with what we have now.

Neighbourhood Stops

What’s interesting about all three of these stops is they bend around the corner which makes them quite prominent which would definitely help in making bus stops more visible and a key part of Auckland’s future.

Shelter A

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter A - Neighbourhood

Shelter B

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter B - Neighbourhood

Shelter C

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter C - Neighbourhood

Again my favourite is Shelter A which seems much more prominent and interesting, it even looks like it has some cycle racks behind the centrepiece part. Like in the original pictures Shelter B is difficult to see so hard to know exactly what it would look like in person. Shelter C just doesn’t look like it scales as well on the large stops.

Of course all of this is just my opinion and everyone can have a say so make sure you do. The AT website has more info including some more detailed info about each design. The consultation is open till 22 August and I would recommend going and having a look if you can, as it certainly changed my thoughts about Shelter B.

I ran a poll when the trial was announced and I’m going to repeat it again to see if anyone’s views have changed.

What new Shelter design do you like best?

View Results

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  1. Thanks for this! Appreciated. Just wondering if you have any observations about shelter from the rain – which shelter would be the best? I only ask as it was rainy yesterday.

    1. It wasn’t raining while I was there but as I said I liked the bigger front glass panel on Shelter B. That’s something that I suspect could be implemented in the other ones though.

  2. The top rail in B looks very prominent in this corner version. However the Local Board is thinking about a higher structure behind which could help – but A is much lighter. I think that the look of both B and C will date badly – especially C – whereas A is trying to respond to Auckland. Don’t like the baby of A tho.

    1. Yes how do you stop etchings in wood. Seems like a likely target. Although glass etching just as bad. Otherwise I like A. The smaller A is a bit boring though.

  3. Shelter C has far better and more colourful lighting than the other designs, so feels a lot safer and more welcoming at night. If Shelter A could incorporate those lighting aspects, it would get my vote.

    1. I suspect the final version could end up a little bit of a mash up, Shelter A with a bigger front glass panel and better lighting (I haven’t seen each of these at night so take you word that C is better)

    2. Check them out at night before commenting on the lighting! I reckon B and A have a nice lighting scheme, with A also having a lit advertisement/information board

    3. Check them out at night before commenting on the lighting! I reckon B and A have a nice lighting scheme, with A also having a lit advertisement/information board

  4. Neighbourhood Stop = A
    Minor = C
    Standard = A or C

    I love some timber – real character, and quite inviting.
    I love lots of glass – nice and open, save, clean.
    Sufficient shelter is very important.
    Signage needs to be prominent.

  5. What problem are we trying to solve?

    You can make a good case for shelters to be part of fixed positions, such as awnings outside shops or apartments, or as part of transit stations.

    Q: Did you know Invercargill are going to make their high streets “all weather”?

    Beyond these locations, mobile shelter’s seem a better path to pursue because they are multipurpose and inherently vandal proof unless you find yourself being vandalised. We should provide seats, which seem to be a well understood concept.

    The main problem with a shelter you need to travel to via open sky is if you have a wish to remain warm and dry, you will need to have been sheltered to get there. That being said, what is the point of another shelter?

  6. A by far my favourite.
    B was too dark and C felt exposed and I have to admit to hating the design.

    Also as someone that strangely has used all 3 (not many people would) and in the past few weeks with the atrocious weather I can say A was the nicest to be in.
    The wood is nowhere near as dark as the dark blue roof of B and because of the slowing roof it felt open rather than claustrophobic.

    It’s actually hard to compare shelter wise like all good Auckland bus stop designs they seem to do weird gaps, floating roofs and architectural ‘spaces’. When added to putting these stop in over bridges and ‘disused spaces'(like k rd over bridge) they are on the whole, wet. I have no idea why they don’t just close the gaps. Also a is much more sheltered by the tress behind vs C which is more open and exposed.

    It’s so frustrating with PT and location of bus stops (always disused spots, symonds st being quite horrible and miserable when no one around) that take ages to walk to.

    I would rather they built something simple, that actually shelters (no gaps) , get rid of the advertising screens (can’t see the buses coming from the seats) work on placement, (signage pools at narrowest points of footpath)
    AND the part I hate the most, fix the pedestrian crossing getting to it… We actually have NO designated crossing at the mouth of the motorway?! We just jet to play chicken I between cars rushing on.
    When with my daughter this is the bit I hate most about that bus stop.

    So my vote goes for A
    BUT my biggest vote goes for moving whole stop to not between two cemeteries and a motorway. 😉

    Oh and can we have a top up machine for while we wait!

    1. In defense of cemetaries, these are peaceful places, although as ever designs vary.

      In London, the best places to enjoy nature, without living people ( see risk) is the cemetery.

      I think I understand why they are unpopular , as nobody likes being reminded of their mortality, or trivial replaceability.

    1. AT day the price isn’t fully known yet as this is a trial and so each shelter is a one off design. They say they will be looking at costs, including maintenance costs as part of the final decision. Construction costs will come down with mass production.

  7. Aesthetics are fine but also sensible positioning of the shelter on the sidewalk is essential. The present Victoria Park shelter on Fanshaw St is literally a blast in a northerly. The shelter at Highbury, Birkenhead, works well as it provides shelter from both north & south wind directions. The open wooden slats on shelter A (which looks great to me) would be miserable in exposed positions similar to the shelter on the main road at Massey University at Albany which has a metal back with thousands of tiny holes in it which in the prevailing westerly wind is like thousands of icy needles going thru your body. However all the shelter styles are a vast improvement on the non-existent bus shelters at the busy top of Victoria St bus stops and the lower Albert St bus stop.

  8. I like A. Very distinctive to others internationally. Feels homely. A place you don’t mind being in. I think it was inspired on a bach.

  9. A is definitely my favourite, though B looks pretty good too.

    I think all bus stop shelters should at least have a light though in the shelter area. So that people waiting in there can be seen.

  10. From what you show and say, I like A. I think it is a good blend of unobtrusive and good design that will stand the test of time. B is a nice idea but it looked a bit flimsy to me. C is, well, it’s different, and I give marks for different but I don’t think this is the way to go.

  11. Although my views on these things should be plain, do wonder if we looked at stretching shelters out across the pavement/ existing shelter spaces, and went for something more like a tunnel that people walked through, sat down in etc.

    Not sure what options exist for preventing them becoming wind tunnels here, but not insurmountable?

    If the could be done as modules, then extending 1 standard shelter for variable commuter population would be fairly straightforward.

  12. Very much liking the changes to the bus stops in Auckland. Looking very stylish indeed! I actually quite like bus stops that shelter the pedestrians and those waiting from the bus and traffic like these new ones in Tokyo:–%20Japan%20Trip/2013%2012%2009%20Day%201/793783_779033332110714_792200068_o_zps935f7f38.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

    You of course then have to use a system whereby the buses stop at each individual stop rather than relying on people flagging them down, but it does at least protect those waiting from traffic fumes/noise a bit.

  13. Oh no… the bum seats in C! Why oh why? (Hint: I hate them, only real use, good for propping up a bag if you are looking for something) Also, the colourful divider in C, that’ll get annoying quickly if there are plenty of people around and you want to see your bus.

    The end-board (non-Approach end) on C is the best, and could be adapted into A or B, but personally, I get the feeling that A is going down the timber for timber-sake line. The curvy roof in B (I haven’t personally seen it) I imagine lets in a bit of light based on the renderings so a + there, so personally, I’d go for B with the end-board of C as a practical “it does it’s job” bus stop.

    Side note: Attaching timetable displays at different heights etc (A & B): TACKY! Part of the end board (with a nice route/area map + realtime display/clock), and the area next to it should’ve been dedicated to the timetable + a smaller version neatly presented at the bus-approach end, made to look like it fits into the shelter design.

    Neighbourhood stops… it’d have to be A or B and to tell the truth, is it right to choose? These are *NEIGHBOURHOOD STOPS* give the community board a choice of A or B or a budget of X & say design it yourself but it has to fit within XxY and fit in these features that we will install and to this spec we will maintain, any extra you can afford/fundraise and maintain, go for it. I could see Howick maybe going A, but somewhere like Massey going B, and Takapuna designing their own, personally for Balmoral, A looks best.

    (I didn’t comment on minor stops, it kinda mimicks my thoughts on the major stops)

  14. OK, finally got a chance to have a look. Quick summary:

    A is using the most current built language; particularly in terms of materials, slaty timber is all the rage right now.
    B is kookily retro; 1940s London Tube station, the Holden era [not the car, the architect] flat roof presenting a deep curved lid.
    C is dated 90s patterned glass and steel.

    A will be chosen, but remember what is very fashionable now is likely to seem very dated shortly.
    I do like the wit and the ‘pre-dated’ style of B. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, even if it seems a little top heavy. Although that is nicely undone when you’re in it by the fact that the roof is glazed so it isn’t at all dark and heavy for the user.
    C is duff.

    In terms of utility, not that it can ever be divorced from aesthetics, the holy grail is a shelter that provides protection from the elements while offering full view of approaching buses [so you don’t miss one, or have keep popping out to see], but is not so enclosing to feel unsafe.

    In this I thought B works best; the big sheet of glass to the roadside offers good protection from any weather coming that way, more effectively than the others [and this is the difficult direction, along with the direction of the approaching buses]. For fine weather I like the open end and island stools of A, but fine weather is easy.

    I think B would be a brave choice, but one that also offers a branding opportunity for AT, which the others don’t. It says Transit, it has wit…..

    None of them are seriously adventurous however, though I sure that wasn’t the brief.

  15. Has the competition closed?

    I have a philosophical problem with bus shelters.

    Having said that, if we insist they are some kind of civic requirement then shipping containers across the footpath seem a cost effective method of providing them.

    I also like what these people have done inside their shipping container which is not a bus shelter.

    The bus shelter version should have some kind of portholes, perhaps a roof terrace for coffee and cigarettes and be open at both ends to allow passing traffic to pass.

    Sometthing will need to be done to mitigate wind vis a vis tunnel effects, but as we managed just recently to crash something into mars, this should be achievable.


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