A man waits for a bus at one of the Big Blue Bus' new stops on Main Street on Tuesday. (Daniel Archuleta)

A man waits for a bus at one of the Big Blue Bus’ new stops on Main Street on Tuesday. (Daniel Archuleta)

CITYWIDE — Bus stop critics, your voices were heard.

Big Blue Bus officials announced Wednesday that they are “modifying the design” of the new bus stops — a response to “customer and constituent 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,” said BBB Director of Transit Ed King. “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.”

The Daily Press received dozens of e-mails, phone calls, and letters bashing the new stops, which started popping up around the city in March.

Residents say the new blue modern stops are uncomfortable, that the canopies don’t provide shade, and that they are not easily accessible for people with disabilities. The seat-backs, they say, are too low.

BBB officials plan to add additional seating and “additional or expanded canopies.”

They will add “seating features allowing greater ease of use for riders requiring support to lift themselves up from a seated position, and when necessary, repositioning the seating such that the sightline for riders and drivers alike is not obstructed.”

They are also considering wider seats and higher backs.

The changes will go into effect over the next couple months, BBB officials said.

Installation of a few of the larger bus stops will be expedited to see how residents react. To date, none of the larger stops have been installed.

The total project cost $7 million with 80 percent of that coming from federal grants. The plan was to install 302 bus stops over the course of about two years.

The Daily Press wrote about residents’ frustrations last week. In the article, BBB officials explained some of the logic behind the designs. The canopies are meant to be artistic, they said, and provide shade during the peak ridership periods. The seat placement, they said, was meant to allow riders to see arriving buses. The seats, they acknowledged, could get uncomfortable if used for a long period of time.

“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 Wednesday. “We appreciate the customer feedback as it has contributed to improving the design.”

 

dave@smdp.com

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