The excellent Beauty of Transport blog that typically covers transport design (which I feel strongly is often overlooked but critical to public transport – and active travel – marketing and mode shift) has a new post on the design of West Croydon Bus Station. You can find it here:
I too have a soft spot for the bus station – forget the buses, the station structure transports you too. Just for a moment while waiting there it’s as if you’re not in the city, but at a quiet country railway station from a bygone time. Waiting there makes bus travel feel truly first class – the frills and flowers contrast with the miserable glass and steels of an airport; the bold island setting contrasts with the hidden back-entrance-to-a-shopping-centre ‘poor door’ location of all too many bus stations.
The usual criticism of this bus station’s design (which I can attest to having spent some time earlier this year surveying punters) is that it is exposed to the elements, and indeed while there is a canopy it isn’t much help in keeping off wind and driving rain. The trade off here, as Beauty of Transport notes, is that the open nature of the station makes it inviting and safe. It is possible to wait inside in the small cafe, and whilst having a cafe concession in the waiting room does privatise that space somewhat it is a pleasant and inexpensive facility, and means that this waiting and toilet area is attended and serviced. The cafe have a fairly indifferent policy to waiters in poor weather, and in practice the cafe would find it difficult to begrudge a non-paying shelter-seeker a few minutes refuge – remember, buses are frequent and passenger turnover high, it isn’t a problem. In short, it works, and if it didn’t it would be changed.
For me, West Croydon Bus Station is transport infrastructure done right. It’s great to see it recognised by Beauty of Transport.