paris: “the bus stop of the future”

Now that Paris has bus lanes on almost every boulevard, we can expect their transit agencies to continue investing and innovating around their frequent and popular bus services.  Today we get "the bus stop of the future," where designer Marc Aurel has packed in every convenience that will fit in the space, plus a few more.

Paris station de bus du futur 1
Paris station de bus du futur









Yes, it's still a bus shelter, but the idea is to make it both more useful and more of a social space.  People may come here for a range of things other than catching the bus, so that social interaction and the life of the street intermix with waiting to produce a more vibrant, interesting, and safe environment.  It's the same principle by which transferring passengers can help activate civic squaresFrom Bati-journal (my rough translation):

This experimental station at boulevard Diderot is not just a place to wait for a bus. Covering an area of ​​80 m2, it was designed as a multi-purpose public space … .  Here you can buy a bus ticket, get information about the neighborhood, have a coffee, borrow a book, play music, recharge a phone, buy a meal to take away, rent an electric bike, stay warm while eating a sandwich, or set up a bag on a shelf to do your makeup.  Variable light adjusts for day and night conditions. This project will also be the first urban test of materials and technological innovations … such as ceramic furniture invented by Marc Aurel, and a sound design integrated into the fabric of furniture …

I'm disappointed they didn't include an art gallery with some durable lendings from the Louvre, on the model of Louvre-Rivoli station

But seriously:  This is what a major bus stop or station might look like if you really, really valued buses, and also value the principle that uses of the street should be intermixed so that they contribute activation, interest, and safety to one another. 

23 Responses to paris: “the bus stop of the future”

  1. Sophia Katt May 21, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    This is nice–I hope SDOT sees it!

  2. Wai Yip Tung May 21, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    The one amenity I like to see is wifi hotspot. Since the shelter already have power and I assume it will have network to display real time information, it should be simply to add a wifi hotspot. This might be the best way to start growing a MUNI wifi network.

  3. Eldan Goldenberg May 21, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I worry a bit about this kind of thing. Ceteris paribus, it would be lovely, but is it competing for resources with the more important transit improvement of simply running more buses so that people don’t have to wait as long at the stop? I mean, if we have a really high-functioning high frequency network, how long will people have to use these amenities? And at the end of their journey, do we want to keep them at the bus stop, making busy stops crowded?

  4. Jeff Wegerson May 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    It’s hard to get a chance to speak French in a non-business or clerical setting. A few years ago I got just such a chance with two older ladies while waiting for a bus.

  5. Eric O May 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    No matter how you beautify the stop, one sentiment I’ve encountered among American developers is that they can’t stand the thought of buses stopping in front of their prime frontage. These amenities might offer a kind of prophylactic screen to “hide ugly buses” (as they have put it to me before). Some developers even oppose streetcar and light-rail stops, afraid they might block view to storefronts.
    There has to be a sort of a sea change before US developers and retailers warm up better to transit amenities on the sidewalk. This might help. But I think, Jarrett, you’re on to a better recommendation in sexing up the vehicle first.

  6. EN57 May 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    No problem with multi-purpose spaces on public footpaths, but the style and layout of the structures, and the number of activities able to be supported at stops like these would be dependent on the operational practicalities at each stop. You wouldn’t want to hinder safe and efficient boardings and alightings if you really really valued buses. The structures illustrated above might work in some street contexts given the bus service frequencies, width of footpaths, volumes of pedestrian flows etc. You’d have to imagine how the layout of the structure illustrated above could help or hinder a crowd of 30-50 angry commuters trying to get on their buses during wet afternoon peak – to see the design’s real attractiveness.

  7. Eric May 22, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Operation/maintainance and vandalism costs must also be taken into account.
    A long bus stop like this would be useful if pre-payment is used and passengers can board through all doors.

  8. Em@ Philippine Travel May 22, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    Sometimes I go to bus shelters just to sit and hang out with my friends. 😀 Paris is lovely so I don’t wonder if people there consider those shelters as social places. I haven’t been to Paris yet but I’ll stop by a bus shelter there if I get the chance to visit the place.

  9. Christophe May 22, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    I agree with other comments : invest in frequency, vehicles, and live-info on next arrivals, not in bus shelters ! When you know from your office or your apartment that next bus will be in 6 minutes, why would you go right now to this magnificent bus stop ?
    All these researches on “bus stop of the future” are a bit like if analysts imagined “public phone of the future”…

  10. Sparky May 22, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    A few inaccuracies here…
    Motorised two wheelers are not authorised in enlarged bus lanes in Paris (unless they have recently changed the regulations)It is too dangerous, and when you see how motor bikes , scooters etc drive around in Paris in general (they do NOT follow the traffic lines but weave around them, sometimes at great speed)you realise they don’t really need them.
    If a bike lane is materialised, then bikes must use them. so if parallel to a bus lane, bikes are not mixed with buses (in theory I know – we are talking about Paris and I lived there for 30+ years!)
    The RER is extremely overcrowded in peak hours – which are getting longer and longer – so the east west A line RER goes v slowly esp in the am peak and in fact it can be quicker (and much more comfortable) to take the No 1 metro line to cross Paris even with all the stops, cause you have to wait for 2 or 3 RERs before you get in one in some stations, and the No 1 line is now fully automatic so reduced headways too…..

  11. Sparky May 22, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Sorry previous comment referred to the bus lanes article in 2010 and not the stops!Just clicked on the article and didn’t check the dates – but comments still true!

  12. david vartanoff May 22, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Jarrett wrote “People may come here for a range of things other than catching the bus, …” Herewith a true story from a part of Oakland where the hipsters are moving into previously sleazy territory. 2 AM or so, a resident hears loud noises, looks out window to see bus shelter being de constructed and hauled away. AC Transit replaces same within a short time (operationally insolvent but capital for pseudo BRT…) Several nights later again w/ loud noise, shelter is again demolished/removed. Why you ask. Seems a neighbor had complained that “homeless” persons congregated there and harassed people waiting for buses. Apparently he had complained to AC, to no response and took matters into his own hands.
    While wi fi etc might be nice, I much prefer rarely waiting long enough to even get out a book to read.

  13. Mikey May 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I see a bike in one picture, but how hard would it have been to stick two or three bike staples onto the bus stop??
    Wireless? (1) Cities are rapidly introducing city-wide. (2) Let’s improve bus service before constructing things that make long waits more comfortable.
    Sorry, but I don’t find anything useful, maybe the advertisements will help support the costs. However, I do support the idea of making tweaks to try to make them more social – we’re waiting there with neighbors afterall. Good try (not being sarcastic).

  14. Chief Clerk May 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    A bit of enclosed space would add to the appeal. Sydney’s Railway Square, where there’s a large sculpture fobbed off on the public as a bus shelter and you can usually count on being rain- and wind-swept, would be a good place to try this treatment. (Admittedly there’s a cafe already)
    Shelf space to put your bag or pack while you get something out, definitely shows careful design!

  15. Martin May 23, 2012 at 2:21 am #

    Sound like one of those experiments that want to achieve the versatility of a swiss army knife. In reality we’ll probably see many of those functionalities simply not being used (“have a coffee, borrow a book, play music, recharge a phone, buy a meal to take away,” etc). The newsstand function will probably work since this is nothing new at transit stops.
    The clutter of the additional street furniture is more of an obstacle for pedestrians and transit users and may make the space less pleasant (hobo living room?).

  16. Carren May 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Is this something they’re really going to implement? I’m unclear on it.

  17. Ray May 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    It seems like several commenters only use the bus for one way commutes to and from work.
    It’s all well and good to be able to check the bus schedule before you leave for your departure stop, but if you make a transfer you have to wait for your connecting bus. You also need to wait for your bus if you class gets out at a certain time, the store where you work closes, the movie lets out, or the bars close.
    Myself, I like to wait out the rain and wind, even if it is only for a couple of minutes.

  18. EN57 May 29, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Ray, it’s possible to provide shelter, timetables and seating at busy bus stops on crowded big-city streets, without obstructing the essential transport functions of the bus stops. My concerns with this design is that it seems to include unnecessary enclosures, signage structures and functions which may obstruct and hinder people getting on and off buses in a safe and efficient manner. You might miss your bus because you couldn’t see it – or because a bunch of people just hanging around, blocked your way.

  19. Mark Elliot June 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Thanks for this heads-up. I recall a decade ago being impressed by the Paris bus system’s use of electronic displays to estimate arrival times (not all stops but on major boulevards). So it’s no surprise, I guess, that officials would even entertain a better bus stop while we’re still waiting on public toilets here in the states.
    Of course they’ve always taken rail seriously. SNCF’s TGV system is ever-expanding and sets a high bar for service grace and reliability (except those pesky strikes, of course!). Their RER commuter rail also sets a standard for regional penetration and efficiency.
    I can only imagine the sums expended. But then that’s a nation of the grand project with the centralized administration to get it done.

  20. sokokyu June 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Sometimes I question if we even need expensive electronic displays when nearly all of us carry smartphones now.
    Here’s some interesting mass transit in Korea:

  21. D August 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

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