You’d think the Big Blue Bus would be sick of feedback about the new bus stops by now. But no, they want more.
BBB officials are asking residents to try out two proposed redesigns of the new bus seats and fill out an online survey.
The alternative seat options were designed in response to the outpouring of complaints about new seats that were installed last year. The Daily Press was swamped with negative letters about the new bus stops. In a highly contentious election season, all City Council candidates agreed on one thing: The new bus stops suck.
Complaints were wide-ranging — many disliked the inconsistent shade provided by the station’s parasol — but BBB is focusing on the seats, which took the brunt of the bashing.
Residents complained that the seats are too small, lack armrests, and have backs that are too short.
Residents called for the traditional benches to be returned. BBB said it’s not going to happen.Residents have complained in the past about homeless people sleeping on the benches and many of those opposed to the new seats say they were designed only to keep the homeless away.
“Some locations have very narrow sidewalks and the seating is very close to private residence or commercial frontage,” BBB officials said in August. “In these situations, the new seating is much more compatible to the adjacent residents, businesses, and property owners.”
Instead of returning the old benches, BBB is revamping the new ones. The options are on a citywide tour through Feb. 19.
Today through Wednesday, they’ll be on display at a BBB stop on Montana Avenue at 17th Street and hit four other locations over the next two weeks.
BBB wants residents to take their pick with an online survey:www.bigbluebus.com/BSIPseatsurvey (including a chance to win a free monthly bus pass).
The new seats look similar to the old new seats but they include more substantial armrests that float alongside, unattached. The backs are taller, too, though one option has a taller back than the other. The taller of the two is made of a metal mesh while the shorter is more opaque with fewer holes.
“The two seats being installed in the public right-of-way reflect extensive feedback on two prior prototypes during the fall from members of the City’s Disabilities Commission and the Commission on Senior Community as well as a group of frequent bus riders of varying ages (millennials to seniors) and physical health,” BBB officials said in a release last week.
“Now it is your turn,” they said. “We invite everyone to sit in the redesigned prototype seat. Seat A and Seat B, as we are calling them, look similar but have modest differences in seat height, depth, and width which might affect your comfort and the seat’s functionality.”
When designs are finalized, with the help of resident feedback, BBB officials said, the seat base and backs will be installed on top existing single seats.
“What will not be changing for most stops is how the seats are sited,” BBB officials said. “At medium- and high-volume stops, the seats are sited so that riders can find shade somewhere during the day, although there is no guarantee that the shade will be cast over a seat. The requirement BBB worked with was to develop a schematic design to provide shade. Rain is such a rare occurrence so the requirement to provide shade took priority.”
During a recent storm, bus stop-haters took to Facebook, posting photos of residents standing under storefront awnings, rather than at the stops, avoiding the rain.
“You spoke,” BBB officials said. “We’re listening. We look forward to being in touch.”
Try out the new stops at the following locations:
Feb. 2 to 4 at Montana Avenue and 17th Street
Feb. 5 to 8 at Lincoln Boulevard and Ashland Avenue (northbound)
Feb. 9 to 11 at Lincoln Boulevard and Montana Avenue (northbound)
Feb. 12 to 15 at Wilshire Boulevard and 16th Street (eastbound)
Feb. 16 to 19 at Santa Monica Boulevard and 22nd Street (westbound)