Around a year ago Auckland Transport launched a trial and consultation of three potential new bus shelters that they intend to eventually roll out across the region. The trial was held on Symonds St where the three different designs could be trialled next to each other.

The desire for AT to have a new unified shelter design is understandable. There are currently around 32 different shelter designs across the region and each have different materials and therefore maintenance costs. There are also benefits showing PT as a single unified network and benefits to customers from having a consistent experience no matter where they travel. AT say the customer experience will be improved through

a) Enhanced wet weather and wind protection

b) Improved safety features

c) An overall more consistent and legible user experience

d) Sensor activated solar powered lighting

e) The ability to incorporate local identity via art

f) Integration of an enhanced real-time system and (trial of) enhanced customer interface into the shelters

g) Incorporation of other facilities (eg retail, cycle racks etc)

h) The smart shelter concept

i) Way-finding and information

For each design there were variations for small, intermediate and major stops along with a design for large neighbourhood interchanges. The major stops were the ones trialled and are below.

Design A – Design Brand 

Bus Shelter Design A

Design B – Jasmax

Bus Shelter Design B

Design C – Opus

Bus Shelter Design c

A paper to the AT Board for Tomorrow has finally recommended a preferred design. The shelters were assessed on 5 key criteria each with a 20% weighting and under which there were additional criteria. This is shown below

Bus Shelter Criteria

And here are how each design rated for the 5 high level criteria

Bus Shelter Criteria Results

As you can see design A by Design Brand is preferred and scores the highest in most categories. It would be interesting to know the more detailed results to see what would need to be improved to get the score up even higher. I’m surprised the Jasmax design scored so low in areas like Look and Feel as I certainly felt it was at least better than the Opus one. Of the Design Brand shelter AT say

The overall design is characterised by timber, extruded recycled aluminium, glass, and solar powered lighting. There is also the ability for a mains power connection. There is provision for an advertising or digital panel but this can be swapped out for glass and/or timber/ steel/ aluminium and the ability to integrate real time signage. The roof can be glass, solid, or a combination depending on the locational needs. Locations that are more prone to vandalism can have materials changed. This shelter design received the least vandalism during the trial.

Here are the three standard versions of Design A.

Bus Shelter Design A Range

AT say the neighbourhood interchanges will be bespoke designs using elements and parts of the design however they will have individual public and stakeholder engagement. Up to 20 neighbourhood interchanges will be needed and AT want to ensure that they “are impressive from both a form and functionality perspective”. Some concept designs for one are below

Bus Shelter Trial - Shelter A - Neighbourhood

Bus Shelter Design A Neighbourhood Concept

AT do note that there are some risks with the new design and one of those is advertising and that a number of shelters are currently owned and maintained by Adshel. They say they’re examining the agreements they have and the impacts the new design will have and that over time those may change but they suggest long term (8-10 years) it will likely result in AT owning and managing any advertising on their own. This suggests that we’re not likely to see advertising disappear from bus stops in the future.

The normal shelters will be rolled out as budgets allow and will be replacing existing shelters that are approaching their end of life as well as targeted around supporting the roll out of the new network. They will also be installed on road upgrade projects such as Te Atatu Rd. Funding for the shelters comes from three areas, budgets for bus stop improvements, bus stop renewals and as part of larger corridor projects such as Te Atatu Rd. The improvements and renewals budgets over the next three years equate to $10.6 million and are broken down below

Bus Shelter Budgets

The new shelter design including assembly, hardwood seat, carved front portal and a lock-up box comes in at approximately $13,977 +GST which is ~$1,200 more than the existing shelter design being rolled out today. Install costs vary considerably dependant on the site and whether the installation is at a new or existing site but there is unlikely to be any real difference to current install costs (which range between $5,000 – $10,000 per shelter). At time of writing the final cost for the shelter is yet to be finalised as it is dependent on order numbers (bulk orders will produce further discount) but is expected to reduce further from the price above.

It is the intention to bulk order these shelters through tender, once budget certainty is gained.

I’m looking forward to seeing these new shelters starting to appear around the city.

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46 comments

    1. Hello Wayne.
      i am one of the builders and i can confirm our shelters hold up in all weather conditions.
      we use bondor roofing to keep you cool in the sun and we also leave no gaps between the glass to ensure the public doesnt get wet

  1. The current bus shelters have a bench for three people who don’t mind touching elbows and a bum bar for perhaps one person. Perhaps a 4th and 5th person will loiter in the doorways at each end. Anyone else either has a very limited idea of personal space or stands outside.

    These shelters don’t really appear to address this. Once you have two or three people sitting down…..she’s dead, Jim.

    The wind is a huge issue. The shelters at the Westfield in Manukau are a good example. The wind frequently sweeps along the side of the Mall and anyone at the bus shetlers isn’t sheltered at all, really.

    These designs are all OK provided you make the shelters at least twice as deep.

    1. Yeah chances are most places will have a minor one, which fits like 2-4 people sitting and maybe 1-3 standing, often there will be more than this amount of people at peak and will probably have to stand in the wet. Hopefully AT put these “minor shelters” on less popular stops served by frequent or connector routes only, as most “local” routes are likely to have quite a few more people waiting for a longer amount of time. Also rail-replacement stops should probably be at least intermediate, as there will potentially be a lot of people waiting there in event of rail issues or during busy public holidays/weekends where they are running.

    2. The amount of seating seems to completely ignore the capacity issues the buses are currently facing. Those people do have to get on the bus at some point.

    3. Hey Steve.
      i as an employee of the company can disclose to you that yes some are smaller than others but those 3 shelters pictured are not the only designs we build.
      we have designs of ones that are up to 5 times as big as the Major Design.
      we build the size dependent on the location, we also take into consideration of how busy the location is.
      feel free to visit Symonds St to view one of our larger Shelters

  2. Hopefully busy stops with no shelter currently will be getting one soon, especially some rail-replacement stops which ridiculously require standing in the rain with no shelter AT ALL (not even a tree or such). Leaky ones are also a big issue, my colleague catches the bus on Khyber Pass to Onehunga and always gets soaked waiting for the bus, sure you could always bring an umbrella or raincoat but the weather in Auckland isn’t always that predictable.

    With the adverts for the time being cant they have them separate from the shelters like they are currently doing with the trial ones? That would be… sort of OK for the time being.

  3. Wood seats. About time. Yes, potentially not as hardy as the current alluminium ones but will be so much nicer. The aluminium is brutal in the winter.

  4. Yes i agree with your aesthetic assessment Matt; B may be playfully referencing the 1940s but C is simply stuck in the 1990s. A at least has simplicity and the warmth and approachability of timber. I wonder, though, if the knowingly ‘pre-dated’ forms of B wouldn’t last longer; in other words will A start to look quaint relatively quickly? I guess to some degree that will depend on how well the timber stands up to the forces of weather and vandalism….?

    1. I think that these shelters will last for decades. They look (to me) as though the wooden components can be replaced for repair or refurbishment – this appears to have been part of the design brief. Unlike the other designs they’re much more modular and can be adapted to new materials.

      Replacing broken glass is unfortunately still a major issue. I can understand why they’ve moved to minimise it.

      1. Evening George
        yes we can upgrade and add on more bays to any of the minor, intermediate and major shelters easily.
        and as for the glass, our modular connector system allows for easy removal and installation of glass.
        average time to replace one pice of glass would be around 20-30 minutes 🙂

    2. Patrick, Good Evening.
      i am an employee of Metshelter and i can guarantee that the timber used is treated and will last at least 50 years
      without deterioration.

  5. “There are currently around 32 different shelter designs across the region”

    There are now 33 different shelter designs across the region 😉

  6. Nice gap at the bottom to let the wind in, flat roof so that after a few years it will start leaking rain, insufficient seating, is the wood going to be graffiti-resistant? At least hopefully they won’t put advertising on the right-hand end so that you can see your bus approaching.

  7. The shelter for design a don’t offer much protection against strong wind and rain. For example wind can blow though the back strips. The shelter also too narrow for directional rain from the front.

  8. Can’t make everyone happy. It could be worse and still better than nothing. I think less glass is a good choice due to vandalism. Plastic just gets scratched. The wood is fairly resistant.

    I’ll stick with my car. No personal space issues and no weather issues except walking to/from my carpark.

  9. There are so many bus stops at present without any shelter at all (of which most are on routes with infrequent buses). Can this be rectified first please so at least everyone has some sort of cover.

  10. I guess the gap in the bottom is to stop litter from collecting. I think a problem is that much of the population under dresses when venturing outside. If you are cold while at a bus shelter you probably aren’t wearing appropriate clothing, on a rainy day the bus shelter won’t ultimately be the reason you are wet.

    1. 5 minute walk to the bus stop, 10-15 minute wait for a late bus, but I’m underdressed? Or a brisk bike ride to the station and then a cold wait? Standing doing nothing is always going to feel colder (maybe not wetter) than travelling to the station. And waiting around for a bus I’d like to be able to read a book or play with my phone without my hands dropping off!

  11. Unified design is overrated. Consider the electronic arrival boards – they have three lines which they scroll. They are a pain to read because you have to figure out which refresh contains the NEXT bus which is always the bus you want. That may be the best they can do but the bizarre idea is that for unified design purposes the maxx website uses the same three line display! I have enough screen space on my computer to see the next 50 buses all at once but no – they display just three buses at a time.

    1. Yeah they are ancient technology, they should just use LCD or OLED displays in a weatherproof/durable chassis. Something like this: http://railgallery.wongm.com/albums/geelong-stations/F108_9487.jpg (but for buses) and colour the routes with highlights accordingly (e.g. Red city link, Lime green inner, Orange outer, dark green west, light blue north etc – or whatever is relevant). Perhaps they could even have a second display that ties in with the GPS positioning system used on the AT Metro app to show the position of the next bus etc.

    1. Making things uncomfortable to sleep on only “works” if there’s other things to sleep on that aren’t uncomfortable. If you have some comfortable shelters as well, people who need somewhere to sleep will use those. If they’re all uncomfortable, what has really been accomplished other than making life just that little bit harder for people sleeping rough?

  12. Always liked A. Seemed the most nz styled shelter. Hard to know how it will stand up to weather and vandalism.

  13. I think they made the best choice, based on aesthetics (and my tastes). But they will surely be recognised as period pieces in the future. I’m hoping this particular period comes to an end soon, but I’m fearful of what will replace it.

    What’s a smart shelter?

    And they shouldn’t put advertising in residential areas.

    1. Smart shelters (from a quick search) appear to be tornado resistant refuges..

      Tornados are rare but not totally nonexistent here…

      Does the new design have a solid roof? Hard to tell. My local bus shelter has a glass roof which is utterly pointless on a sunny day when you need shade

      Hopefully the next design style will be a Classical Revival? This boxes on boxes style is already looking dated.

    2. So no advertising anywhere then?

      The central city is arguably the most residential area of the whole country, certainly based on the number of people living here.

  14. Looked good overall until it got to the neighbourhood interchanges. Those neigbourhood interchanges look cluttered, expensive, and look like they would not actually do much to protect from the elements with the sail/tarp roof thing.

    1. A truly impossible task! I always forget just how sideways the rain gets in Welly; caught me out good and proper a couple of weeks ago. A couple of good rides on Trolly buses though, and a Matangi up the JVL.

    2. Evening Gregory.
      No, Not a coincedence at all.
      The link of the Bus Shelters you commented are indeed ours aswell.
      Our Company originated in Wellington and we won the contract for the Auckland Shelters shortly after Wellington

  15. Is there any more information on the Manukau interchange near the new train station. In this weather and what I remember of the original options I imagine these shelters facing into the prevailing weather and it is not a comforting thought. I like to think that this interchange between bus and train at Maunukau is going to be a popular and busy place and would like to see some very passenger friendly infrastructure of those waiting for the buses.

    1. The current impression I am under is that Manukau will be on a whole different level to these shelters. It will likely be of a similar base design to the Christchurch Bus Interchange that officially opened today.

  16. Cleaning is an issue, sat in one at Drury tonight to escape a shower on the ride home, it reeked of urine, it was dry though and a new one. When the glass breaks it just gets replaced with industrial mesh.

  17. Bus shelters are not baches nor are Jasmax known for their postmodernist bend and Opus well enough said. Its an odd mix. What is striking in all these images is lack of people and buses. What other options are we, by a default to corporate design offices, missing out on ?

  18. This suggests that we’re not likely to see advertising disappear from bus stops in the future.

    Just did a survey from AT about advertising in bus shelters. The advert that they asked about wasn’t a commercial item but was about crossing the road safely which I’d say was contextual to a bus stop.

  19. One issue with current stops is knowing where the bus will stop, so that it’s quick and easy to get on, minimising dwell time, and particularly important for the less agile passenger (a direction in which we’re all heading). How do the preferred designs convey this important message to both bus drivers and passengers?

  20. Has anyone asked how much these things cost all said and done they are only bus shelters and are only sat in for a short time each working day i only need to take a quick look at them to no why my rates are going up 10%. They look good they look expensive but do we need to spend 30k plus on a bus shelter

    1. i am an employee of Metshelter and as i have no idea on the price figure for a shelter.
      i can guarantee they are nowhere near the price of $30k

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