News Release, Monday, 21 July, 2014
Bus users left out in the rain
Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) is calling on RBS and Brighton & Hove City Council to come up with some innovative designs to give bus passengers proper shelter in North Street, Brighton as part of the RBS financed improvement scheme . The proposed shelters in North Street are far too small for the numbers of people waiting as can be seen by observing the current situation .
Despite a few new shelters being proposed as part of this scheme, BHFOE believes they will be overwhelmed by the number of users and consequently many people will continue to block shop doorways as they seek shelter in the rain. This is one of the issues the scheme is meant to be addressing.
BHFOE is also concerned that moving the eastbound bus stops towards Pavilion Gardens could cause pedestrian congestion as the pavement is quite narrow here where people also congregate for the pedestrian crossing.
Chris Todd from BHFOE said:
“Unfortunately what is a good scheme in many respects, fails abysmally when it comes to providing bus users with shelter. Given that a large number of shoppers arrive by bus, in an area that RBS wants to see trade boosted, ignoring this issue is a serious mistake.
“Installing bog-standard bus shelters which cater for only a fraction of the people at the bus stops is poor design. While, ignoring the problem, hoping it will miraculously disappear, is wishful thinking.
“If RBS are unable or unwilling to pay for proper bus or pavement shelters, then it should pay the Council the money to come up with something better.
“Our solution would be to create an attractive pavement shelter which could protect both bus passengers and shoppers when it is raining. This would stop bus passengers needing to stand in shop doorways for shelter while encouraging shoppers to linger in the area rather than hurry through it. Unless changes are made to the designs, this will represent a wasted opportunity to put North St on the map, while leaving bus users out in the rain.”
 The initial proposals went to the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on 1 July 2014 after a short consultation a couple of weeks before then.
 There are currently 3 bus shelters in North St for eastbound users. These are constantly oversubscribed with passengers spreading out all around these shelters which are far too small for the numbers of people using the buses. RBS are just proposing replacing them like for like. However, in the plans RBS’s consultants have produced, only 2 of these shelters are shown as existing today. This could create a false impression that RBS is making more improvements than it really is.
Westbound there are currently no bus shelters, although many people waiting at one of the bus stops shelter under the canopy extending out from the buildings there. RBS is proposing 3 new shelters so there would be a slight gain here but given the numbers of people using the stops they would appear more tokenistic than practical.