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Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Changes Bus Stop Design

Phil Brock For Council 2014

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

July 10, 2014 –Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) announced plans on Wednesday to add more comfortable seats and shade at their new bus stops, which have been widely criticized by riders.

All 302 bus stops throughout Santa Monica and various other stops located around Los Angeles are scheduled to be upgraded, transit officials said.

The changes to the Bus Stop Improvement Project (BSIP) design comes in response to a torrent of customer dissatisfaction with the design, which limits seating on metal benches and provide little or no shade.

“We have received numerous customer requests for additional seating, shade, and comfort and are working with the City’s architect, Public Works Department and project contractors to accommodate these requests,” said Ed King, director of Transit for the Big Blue Bus.

Nearly 40 of the low volume stops have been completed, and transit officials have been inundated with complaints from riders who say they must wait in the sun on uncomfortable seats for buses that are hard to see coming. Many of the complaints have come from elderly and disabled riders.

“While BBB and the City underwent an extensive public engagement process during the design phase for the Bus Stop Improvement Project, making adjustments once the design is built and installed based on customer experience is the mark of a dynamic public engagement effort,” King said.

According to King, changes to the bus stop design will include additional seating, additional or expanded canopies at low volume stops, seating features that allow riders to stand up more easily and moving the seats to make approaching buses more visible.

Transit officials  will also convert “low volume” stops currently designed to host two seats and a single canopy to “medium volume” stops that add seating and canopies.

In addition, the agency is looking to change the design of existing seats to make them more comfortable by making the seats wider with higher backs.
           
Changes will go into effect over the next few months, as BBB also constructs a few “high-volume” stops over the next several weeks.

“We believe when customers see the full scope of the project installed, there will be a greater understanding of seat and canopy configurations at each stop based on the volume of ridership,” King said.

“We appreciate the customer feedback as it has contributed to improving the design,” he added.

Among the new features at each stop are a route map of lines stopping at that location, an ID number that allows for real time bus arrivals via cell phone and trash and recycling containers.

Medium and high volume stops will also receive signs that broadcast real time bus arrival information at 35 boarding locations and select areas will receive solar LED lighting that illuminates the structure and waiting area.

To receive regular updates about the project, riders can subscribe to the Big Blue Bus’s dedicated Bus Stop Improvement Project email list at www.bit.ly/BSIPemailsubscribe.


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