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Responding to Complaints, Big Blue Bus to Modify New Bus Stops

Constituents have complained about seating capacity, shade, rider and driver line-of-site visibility and functionality of the seats for elderly riders and riders with physical challenges.

Before, after and the after-modification renderings of Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus stops. Photos courtesy the city of Santa Monica.
Before, after and the after-modification renderings of Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus stops. Photos courtesy the city of Santa Monica.

From a press release:

The city of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB), in response to customer feedback, announced plans to modify elements of its new Bus Stop Improvement Project design improving seating capacity and functionality.

Background

In 2009, Big Blue Bus engaged an architectural design firm to work with BBB, city staff and stakeholders to come up with a Santa Monica-inspired design that would also incorporate real-time information, solar lighting, updated maps and other desired amenities for riders. 

The final design, called "The Blue Spots," is clean and unobtrusive, and was designed to enhance the city's coastal look and feel. The new bus stop structures utilize a modular system flexible enough to adapt to various sized locations and rider volumes and the three stop configurations are designed to accommodate different passenger ridership volumes for designated “low,” “medium” and “high volume” stops. 

The design is the result of extensive outreach to a great number of stakeholders, including; riders, City Council officials, business owners with storefronts behind bus stops, business improvement districts, neighborhood associations, and the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau.

All 302 bus stops throughout Santa Monica, and various other stops located around Los Angeles serviced by the Big Blue Bus, will be updated. New features at each stop will include:

  • A route map of lines stopping at that location
  • An ID number that allows for real time bus arrivals via cell phone
  • A canopy providing shade during peak travel times
  • Seating (space permitting)
  • Trash and recycling containers

Medium- and high-volume stops will also receive:

  • Signs that broadcast real time bus arrival information at 35 boarding locations
  • Additional seating and canopies
  • Select areas will receive solar LED lighting that illuminates the structure and waiting area

 

Installation, Design Modification and Next Steps

BBB planned the construction to take place six to 12 stops at a time over a two-year period. Construction of the first six stops began Monday, March 31. Almost 40 of the low-volume stops have been completed to date and BBB has heard customer and constituent concerns about seating capacity, shade, rider and driver line-of-site visibility, and functionality of the seats for elderly riders and riders with physical challenges. 

BBB researched and vetted these concerns and true to the iterative community engagement process, BBB is modifying the design of the new bus stops to address these concerns.

“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 as possible,” says Ed King, director of Transit for the Big Blue Bus. 

“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.”

Bus stop design modifications will include additional seating, and additional or expanded canopies at low volume stops, seating features allowing greater ease of use for riders requiring support to lift themselves up from a seated position, and when necessary, re-positioning the seating such that the sightline for riders and drivers alike is not obstructed. 

Where feasible, BBB will convert “low-volume” stops currently designed to host two seats and a single canopy to “medium-volume” stops, adding seating as well as canopies. In addition, BBB is investigating modifying the existing seat design to improve the seating comfort and support, potentially through wider seats and higher backs. 

Proposed modifications will go into effect over the next few months. BBB will also construct a few “high-volume” stops over the next several weeks so that customers can see the full mix of stop configurations sooner than previously scheduled.

“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,” continued Ed King. “We appreciate the customer feedback as it has contributed to improving the design.”

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