Lynne Shapiro brought our attention to the way that choices to locate bus stops can marginalize their riders, discouraging use of public transportation by those who could choose between the bus and a car and placing a burden on those who do ride the bus to complete errands. Lynne has taken photos of bus stops around Connecticut and the D.C. metro area malls and stores. She points out that they are often far from entrances, and in some cases malls didn’t allow them on the property at all.
Here are two photos, from different angles, of a bus stop at Hamden Plaza, a major shopping center in the New Haven, CT, area:
The result is to create additional burdens on those using the bus for shopping, requiring them to haul or push their purchases a significant distance to the bus stop, a process that would be particularly unpleasant in rain or snow (or, here in Vegas, when it’s 117 degrees), or for those with mobility issues.
When mass transit stops are systematically located in inconvenient or isolated areas, it disadvantages those who are dependent on public transportation and discourages others from choosing to ride rather than driving their own car, and reinforces a common perception of the bus, in particular, as an inferior form of transportation — a topic discussed more fully by Sikivu Hutchinson in Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles.
UPDATE: Reader codeman38 provided a link to an image of a Target parking lot in Athens, Georgia, which shows the lack of clear pedestrian paths from the bus stop to the store:
Elena — November 15, 2010
No, sorry, that's just a two-minutes walk. I'd be more concerned about the lack of zebra crossings and traffic lights on the road so the shoppers can actually reach the bus stop rather than having to walk through the parking lot.
I'm Spanish, we also have comparable temperatures in the summer, and I always use public transportation. A short walk like that is not nearly as bad as having to wait for 15 or 30 minutes for the bus under the sun or the roof of the bus stop.
Nizam Arain — November 15, 2010
The bus stop in the picture looks like a little jail cell.
Steve Dibb — November 15, 2010
There's also an issue of security. There won't be many people as far out there, and less chance of someone seeing something happening, or being able to help in case of an incident.
Name — November 15, 2010
I'm a student living by myself in Canada, so a car isn't really an option for me. A concern I have about bus stops and terminals is that they are often kind of isolated from the parking lot and shopping areas making them pretty uncomfortable places to be alone at night, especially when laden with new purchases.
e — November 15, 2010
There's a grocery store in Pittsburgh, in Squirrel Hill, that I love because the entrance is right along the sidewalk and the parking lot is located in the back - the entrance is basically equidistant from each. It isn't any further to walk for the people who drive, but it's much more convenient for the people who are walking or taking public transportation.
I get so frustrated by strip malls and how they are designed to make you less likely to walk from store to store - the sidewalks between them sometimes don't exist, and often are blocked or not covered from the elements. And how the bus stops are hidden around the corner.
Well, we wouldn't want the miscreants and losers who ride the bus to congregate near the entrance where the real customers go, do we? Sigh.
Amy — November 15, 2010
Wow. Contrast this to bus stops and stations in the UK which are sometimes situated inside the shopping mall!
Robin — November 15, 2010
On the flip side, being a NYC-er with a car can create some pretty intense road rage. When I'm the pedestrian, I find individual drivers to be annoying and rude (like, honking at you if you dare put your foot on the street) but when I'm the one driving, it's the pedestrians and BUSES, oh the BUSES that I find so annoying. The buses take such wide turns and take up multiple lanes of traffic and block you, etc. When I'm in my little car, seething with road rage at the buses, I always find myself wishing I were a bus rider and unburdoned with a vehicle.
The grass is always greener, is my point.
Molly W. — November 15, 2010
Outside DC several years ago, a young woman was struck and killed by a car as she crossed the street from a bus stop to the mall where she worked.
It turned out the bus stop had been located at the mall itself, but was moved across the street at the specific request of mall management. They received a lot of criticism for that in the wake of her death.
I also think it's interesting that in the hierarchy of transit options, bus travel seems to fall not only below cars, but also below the subway.
A colleague from out of town once asked me for subway directions to a particular destination. When I explained that he could catch a bus right across the street from our office that would take him closer than the subway would and in the same amount of time, he made a face and said, "Only maids take the bus!" We both worked for a progressive non-profit at the time, and I was so startled by his casual, flagrant classism I didn't even know what to say.
Grant Joslin — November 15, 2010
A two minute walk across a parking lot is a systematic and intentional slight causing grave danger against bus riders? Right...
Tom M. — November 15, 2010
"they are often far from entrances, and in some cases malls didn’t allow them on the property at all."
That is absolutely insane! Here in Ottawa, malls are the hubs of our public transit system.
Is this attitude why so few Americans (outside of NYC) use transit?
Canuck — November 15, 2010
When I started making business trips to the US, I found it surprising how few non-urban areas had sidewalks along their main arteries when I went out for morning runs. I finally figured out that it was a kind of economic segregation (and racial segregation, to the extent that race aligns with economic status) -- these communities set car ownership as the minimum economic standard for living in the them, and make everything as difficult as possible for pedestrians and transit riders (forcing them to vault ditches from mall parking lot to mall parking lot, for example).
Once when I was in northern Virginia just outside the Beltway, the hotel tried to talk me into taking their shuttle to an office building that I could *see* out the window, about three blocks away. I didn't understand why, until I tried to get there on foot, and ended up completing the equivalent of 2 or 3 Marine Corps. basic training obstacle courses.
Amelie — November 15, 2010
Some of the commenters point out a 2 minutes walk, but when you're loaded with your weekly food purchases, those 2 minutes can seem like hell. I recently had to get my newly bought printer and microwave back home through public transportation, and though i only had a few minutes walk here and there, i really felt them !! I had to stop every twenty steps at the end.
Lynne Shapiro — November 15, 2010
Hello...I should have indicated that it was OK to use my last name for full photo credits..I'm Lynne D. Shapiro with a whole collection of such photos.
Fantine — November 15, 2010
This particular stop appears to be a 2-minute walk from the store, but in some cities the stop may be blocks or even miles away from where you are trying to go. Not to mention that many bus riders are disabled or elderly, and a two-minute walk carrying groceries or other purchases is going to be a lot harder for them than it is for someone who is currently able-bodied. Add to that the possibility that there may not be a bench or a shelter at the bus stop at all, and you can see how people who use public transport (whether by choice or because they have no other option) really are at a disadvantage.
Sam R — November 15, 2010
What is really interesting is that Americans expect everything to be front door service and if they have to walk for 3 minutes they are being discriminated against.
Lynne Shapiro — November 15, 2010
The walk up to the Shop Rite is about five minutes for someone in average shape like me. The walk all around the shopping center taking the safest route to the farthest most store across the parking lot is about 10 minutes.
Most cities' zoning codes require parking spaces to be a short distance from all entrances but these rules do not apply to bus riders.
codeman38 — November 15, 2010
I just have to link this image I always use as a demonstration of poor planning for transit users. This is a Google satellite image of the parking lot of a Target store in Athens, Georgia, with my own annotations added:
What gets me, as a transit user who doesn't drive due to spatial perception and depth perception issues, isn't so much the fact that the bus stops are on the other end of the parking lot from the stores, but that there are usually no safe pedestrian paths through the parking lots. Pretty much all the walkable paths to the store in the parking lot shown above are going to have car traffic along them. Would it be that hard to add a pedestrian path through the parking lot?
Oh, yes, and it used to be that there were no crosswalks for 3 miles or so on the road running west from that store. They finally added some a year or so ago-- and I might be misremembering, but I think they only did because someone had actually gotten hit trying to cross the road.
AR+ — November 15, 2010
I'd also like to point out that the security issue is sometimes magnified by classist gun laws. In San Antonio, for instance, it is legal to have a firearm on your person or in your vehicle, but not on a bus, so people riding the bus or waiting at bus stops are also specifically targeted by the law to have a harder time defending themselves.
Becki Moody — November 15, 2010
I keep reading the "carrying packages/elderly/disabled" comment but what about mothers with small children (AND packages!) I rode the bus here in Louisville for a brief period when my car needed major repairs. It struck me how many of the riders were lugging 2 or 3 small children, plus usually a folding stroller (larger ones weren't allowed), and several bags of groceries. It's easy to blame people for "choices" but for all I know, their husbands had the only family car (something quite typical when I was growing up). The routes are NOT convenient at all -- I rode 3 buses with an hour wait for the last one to get from my home to school -- normally a 20 minute drive. While I have great concerns for the environment, there is no way I would do that other than GREAT necessity. I'm thankful I have the choice.
SW — November 15, 2010
Whoa. In Finland, the bus stops are as close to the main entrances as possible. The town I live in doesn't allow cars other than taxis around the market square because it's used by buses.
Jon — November 15, 2010
I am 36 years old, have never owned a car, and have regularly ridden public transit in Boston (MBTA), Philadelphia (SEPTA), northern Delaware (DART), central Pennsylvania (CATA), Sacramento (RT), and San Francisco (MUNI, BART). I have regularly ridden buses, subways and commuter rail. For the past 10 years I have commuted to work on a bus, and have regularly used buses for shopping purposes.
I have seen bus stops at malls/shopping centers placed far from entrances (like in the photos above), but I have also seen just as many stops placed literally within feet of a mall/shopping center entrance. So I don’t think the examples above necessarily warrant the following statement: “When mass transit stops are systematically located in inconvenient or isolated areas, it disadvantages those who are dependent on public transportation and discourages others from choosing to ride rather than driving their own car, and reinforces a common perception of the bus, in particular, as an inferior form of transportation”.
Do these photos demonstrate that the stops are “systematically located in inconvenient or isolated areas”? Sure, but only in these examples and this isn’t necessarily the case for all public transit systems.
This is an interesting issue, but one that I think would benefit from the thoughtful analysis of a larger research project and not the reaction to a few photos.
Lynne Shapiro — November 15, 2010
And I submitted my photographs as someone with an M.S. in Urban Studies/Planning very familiar with the research on this issue.
Village Idiot — November 15, 2010
I think I can imagine what must be going through the mind of someone planning a new shopping center or mall when asked where the bus stop should be placed (if there's to be one at all).
It's probably something like: Uh, how far away from the mall/store can we legally place it? After all, people riding the bus to our new mall are either going to be employees of the shops, people just buying a few things (whatever they can carry home on a bus), or people buying nothing at all (like kids who just want to hang out). There is no good reason to encourage bus riders to come to our new mall because employees will either show up on time or get fired so getting here is their problem, people only buying a few things are going to have a negligible effect on our bottom line so we don't need 'em, and kids too young to drive and various sundry groups of intimidating-looking teenagers can use the bus to get here, not spend much money, and drive away (so to speak) our preferred customer base with their menacing stares. Oh and I heard that you can get tuberculosis from the air in buses, and who wants that?
I'm pretty sure that any investors in a new mall would think the above analysis is perfectly rational and would fully support putting any bus stops around the mall on little islands in the middle of large ponds filled with alligators. I believe motorized transportation in general creates these conflicts, and I think they will be insoluble as long as we continue to use it (though I wouldn't include subways/light rail as part of the problem).
I used a bicycle as my only means of transportation for a number of years, and had several to choose from depending on what I was doing. I could carry 15 gallons of water (56 liters) home from the water store (this was in Tucson, AZ) on my heavy-duty tricycle, or go all the way across town only a little slower than someone with a car, plus I felt great when I arrived. I never rode the bus because I'd have had to organize my entire schedule around the bus schedule, and if I did that I'd have ended up spending a LOT of time every day just sitting around waiting for buses.
Even in bike-friendly Tucson I still ended up getting hit by a car on two occasions, but I wouldn't dare ride a bike where I live now and the bus system is so abysmal that 90% of the time I see one there's no one on it except the driver. As far as I can tell, we've built ourselves into an impossible little corner and it isn't going to change much until civilization collapses, at which point it won't matter anymore.
Relegating Buses to Second-Class Status | DCentric — November 15, 2010
[...] a great post about how much the location of a bus stop matters. Poorly-located or -designed stops discourage riders from using the bus, unless they absolutely [...]
Tobyfish — November 15, 2010
The bus stop (more of a small depot) I regularly used was directly under an overpass, quite a distance from any of the businesses around. There was one small little bus hut, and that was it. So, I was often alone, in semi-secluded area. In the dark, and well out of sight of anyone who could help in an emergency. As a short, female-bodied person, who was on medication that screwed with my balance, perception, and focus at the time, it really worked on my nerves.
The single stops are often directly on the side of (often busy) roads, with nothing to protect the people waiting from the elements or the crappy drivers that abound. The only real option was standing back, and then sometimes the drivers wouldn't even realize you were waiting.
Tyler — November 15, 2010
I live in Athens, GA and rely on the bus to get to stores.
I have noticed situations like the one above in a number of places in Athens.
The public transportation system is somewhat limited independent of the bus-stop location issue and I have to choose where to shop depending on bus routes.
Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart makes more accommodations to bus riders as the bus stop is next to the front door, and it is accessible on more routes.
They may have decided to be more convenient to bus-riders because people that rely on buses are more likely to patron their store then Target, but it of course also has the effect that people relying on cars (like myself) choose Wal-Mart because transportation outweighs all the other factors that would determine the choice of which store to shop at.
Ginger — November 15, 2010
As someone who works in transit planning, I would warn people away from blaming transit agencies for "bad planning" when stops are located in this manner. Here are a few reasons:
1. Bus systems, especially in suburban areas, cannot locate bus stops at the front door of ever potential destination. If they did this, the bus would stop every block, and no one would take the bus because it would take too long to actually get anywhere.
2. It is often operationally impossible (and almost always operationally undesirable) to run buses into parking lots. Even smaller local buses run around 40' in length and 8.5' wide. Often, the size of a bus makes it physically impossible to route a bus through the inside of a shopping center. Even when it is physically possible, parking lots have so much unpredictable vehicle and pedestrian activity, that routing a bus through them greatly increases the odds of a crash.
3. In the example shown, if the bus actually turned into the shopping center and served, say, the front door of the Target, it would involve a number of turns. The bus would have to turn right into the shopping area, right along the service drive, left at the service drive in front of the Target, two more lefts to get to the shopping center exit, and a right at the signal to get back onto the main road. Doing so would add at the very least 3 minutes to the route. While this doesn't sound like much, adding 3 minutes to every trip that a route takes *really* adds up. Plus, if the bus going in the opposite direction also served the shopping center, it would have to make a left at the signal into the lot, which could hold the bus up for 3 minutes just waiting to make the light.
So. When transit agencies locate stops in this manner, they are not trying to marginalize anyone. They are merely working within the confines of a poorly designed suburban landscape and serving the most destinations as efficiently as possible.
Ollie — November 15, 2010
"and reinforces a common perception of the bus, in particular, as an inferior form of transportation"
Actually, it's not just a "perception" that the bus system is inferior. The bus system simply IS inferior
gem — November 15, 2010
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Jane Jacobs yet. She's legendary for her many books on what makes a successful, vibrant city or town. Key among her recommendation is walkability/transportation. I highly recommend "The Death and Life of Great American Cities".
Lynne Shapiro — November 16, 2010
I will mention Jane Jacobs, may she rest in peace, as an inspiration for all my efforts since late 1994--beginning with the 1994-1996 Vision for A Greater New Haven Transportation Citizens Action Group--to improve transit services here in Connecticut. These efforts going to hearings, sending e-mails, having op-eds published were generally quixotic not only for me but also for all CT transit advocates until Jodi Rell, who doesn't/can't drive a car herself, took over the Governorship from John Rowland in 2004 or so. Finally we have replacements for now 40 year old Metro-North commuter line rail cars, a protest against raising rail fares again, and funds in place for Southern CT-Capitol Region commuter rail service. Also Governor Rell did not raise bus fares or cut back services during the recession.
Tatiana — November 16, 2010
Hey cool, I live in Hamden and was just at the plaza a few days ago. I've never thought about it (probably because I don't use the bus)but the Bus Stop is pretty far from the entrance. I don't really understand why because there are 2 other shopping plazas in close proximity, Hamden Village Fair Shopping Center and Market Place of Hamden (all within walking distance). I've seen the bus park right at the entrance of the main store, at the Market Place of Hamden, but never the other two. There has to be a logical reason, right...
PS- I had to post a comment just because I live here =)
frank — November 16, 2010
YES, of course. But, the entire concept of a shopping mall is based on cars and parking. If government had any notion to encourage public transportation they would invigorate downtown shopping, where people can go out and walk around. Moreover motorists have no interest in walking out of their way. The whole idea of a giant shopping mall is incredibly unsustainable and inefficient. I'd say put a fork in the whole thing. Anyhow if you shop at Target you are merely encouraging the destruction of small businesses that sustain communities.
Ranah — November 16, 2010
SocImages, this is really crazy. Do you demand paradise on earth?!
I live in a country, in which most people use the bus, and so there is a developed infrastructure of public transportation. And still, it's completely normal for bus stops to be that "far". As a pedestrian I'm used to carrying heavy objects at long distances. It's unavoidable unless you have a personal transportation to your own home. When something really REALLY heavy has to be transported, you can ask the shop to deliver it. And as a pedestrian you can't buy food for weeks to come as you would if you had a car. It's that simple.
The fact that buses are more eco-friendly or do not create traffic jams doesn't make them less inferior for those who seek comfort and paradise on earth. Your position is self-defeating.
C — November 16, 2010
Reading all this makes me glad I live in the UK! Bus services are poor for a lot of rural areas, and I have seen some stupidly placed stops, but by and large if you're near or in a village and you're willing to wait a little while (and be coming back by 5 or 6pm) you can get a bus to the nearest town. They're usually rattly, cold and take a long time (I used to live in Suffolk, the bus to Ipswich took over an hour to do a 15 mile journey and only came every two hours) but they're there.
Like someone mentioned, most of our bus stations are actually inside/attached to shopping centres. All the cities and large and small towns I've been to have bus stations located in the middle, and often plenty of stops throughout the town. I think a big reason for the decent services throughout towns and villages is because OAPs get free public transport, so there are frequent stops to prevent them having to walk very far. Here in Lincolnshire we have the CallConnect service which you phone up an hour or more in advance and can book a bus - the elderly, disabled and those in isolated areas can be picked up from their house, and there are lots of designated stops that most buses go past.
I wish everywhere had services like this; it only makes sense, as not everybody can own or drive a car. Perhaps part of the reason is that most of our shopping is done in malls placed in city centres, or on the high street - so it is convenient to be dropped off in town by a bus and walk around to do your shopping either in pedestrian areas or alongside roads that are usually littered with crossings.
My only qualms are that buses can get totally packed at some times, and they're quite expensive. If I'm going out with two or more people, it's cheaper to split the cost of a taxi from my house than get the bus.
Garen — November 16, 2010
I live in Fairlawn, a suburb about 15 minutes outside of downtown Akron Ohio and the walking/public transportation here is absoulte hell! It is not so much that bus stops are placed too far away from malls and other high traffic areas, but more the fact that, at least here in Fairlawn Ohio there literally are only a few bus stops that take you into the city itself. On top of only a FEW bus stops for an entire suburb of people..there are sidewalks on maybe just 10 to 15 percent of the total landscape. It is absolutely classism at its best and most ignored. I have to walk about 3 miles just to get to the first bus stop in my town! Oh, and that walking is done on congested and busy main roads with no damn sidewalks. I am not necessarilly putting all the "blame" for this on transit corporations, because the real issue is people in general not giving a shit about the bus travellers, walkers, and bikers that live around them. In a suburb of even just middle class affluence such as mine, I have to risk my life every time i want to go somewhere because there is no safe place to walk. I'm just talking about sidewalks here, not even bus stops. It is very sad to me that walking places is dying a slow death due to people's ignorance about transportation issues today. Oh and to top it all off the already overstated and too powerful police that patrol my town just LOVE to stop, hassle, embarrass, and even unrightfully search people who are simply walking through town without sidewalks because apparently walking on the edge of a busy road makes you look like your up to no good..who knew?
adiminishedchord — November 16, 2010
I actually used to live in the same town as the bus stop pictured above (the hamden one), and these pictures are fairly deceiving. The bus stop isn't on the main street, but is actually right in the middle of the plaza. While the point made in the post is certainly valid, these pictures don't really make the case in the best possible way.
Lynne Shapiro — November 16, 2010
C I also had great experiences as a transit user on a 2004 U.K. trip where modern day shopping malls and chain grocery stores are in an integrated way a la Jane Jacobs into the old town centers. Bus stops are at mall entrances on the main street and the malls radiate out from the center to large parking lots at the other entrance. In Manchester, one has a long way to go to find a parking lot near the main shopping area.
As for the last poster who lived in Hamden, I decided it was more important to convey the human feeling of being pushed out so far from "the action" as a bus rider sitting in that shelter than anything else.
Anonymous — November 16, 2010
I went to school at Cornell, and I have to say that the Ithaca bus service is incredible, and though the bus stop for one of the strip malls is across the street, the bus stops for the main shopping mall are right by the entrances, which is amazing. Now that I think about it, for most of the grocery stores and such the stops are not close to the entrance- but I guess I always assumed that was just so busses wouldn't be in the parking lots causing congestion?
Anyhow, I now live in Rochester, NY, and I find that the bus system here is completely different than what I was used to back in Ithaca. For one thing, you can see a stark difference between the routes inside the city proper and radiating outward- the further away you get, the more annoying your choices for public transit are. We live right on the edge in a suburb of Rochester, and it's a prohibitively long walk to get to any bus stop, let alone one that would take me somewhere useful, which means that a car is all but required for me to be able to go anywhere.
Wiley — November 16, 2010
I live in DC and this article is spot on. While I am lucky enough to have a bus stop right in front of my house, the bus stop for the nearest shopping mall and grocery store (which is fifteen minutes away...thank you food desert IN THE MIDDLE OF A CITY) is ridiculously far away. I have to walk across a busy parking lot, climb a hill, go over a barricade, and then walk half the length of the strip mall just to get inside the grocery store.
And waiting for buses at night in DC, when most bus stops don't even have shelters, feels unsafe, not to mention cold.
Lynne Shapiro — November 16, 2010
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=dava+hamden&fb=1&gl=us&hq=dava&hnear=Hamden,+CT&view=map&cid=3197430527785970767&iwloc=A&ved=0CIABEKUG&sa=X&ei=_7DiTLy0K4HsyQW13bWHBg Here's a google map of the Hamden Miracle Mile shopping area.
Lynne Shapiro — November 16, 2010
Actually the other map I would delete for this Miracle Mile google map showing Panera Bread that is near the Hamden Plaze bus stop. Bus riders need to cross the entrance of the Panera Bread driveway and Panera now has tables that sometimes are placed so walking to the stores is more difficult and sometimes humiliating if one has a cart. Also Quinnipiac University shuttle buses are allowed near store entrances at both the Plaza and the next door Hamden Mart. The bus stops for the Mart with Walmart are on Skiff Street--with no cross walk light--or on Dixwell Avenue with a short cross walk light and no walk ways. At some later date I will post photos of an ideal mall design for pedestrians and transit riders in Kentlands, MD as well as photos from my U.K. trip.
gasstationwithoutpumps — November 16, 2010
shows a properly planned bus stop at a shopping mall, between the main entrance and the parking lot.
I don't take the bus often here, because it is almost invariably faster to ride my bicycle, and I can go when I want to. My wife, however, does use the bus for distances over 2 miles (shorter distances are faster to walk).
Alexis — November 16, 2010
The bus will be a lot slower if it goes up to the door of the store and then comes back out to the main road again -- which is also inconvenient for the people who use it.
The problem is not necessarily the siting of the bus stop, but the siting of the mall, with a giant parking lot between the main road and the entrance.
xclairex — November 16, 2010
I live in Berlin, Germany, and here you can find bus stops, subway stations, and/or rapid-transit railway stations literally every 100 metres in the areas. very few people here drive by car daily and e.g. as a student at university, even though you don't have to pay any tuition fees, you MUST pay a bit for your student ID which simultaneously functions as an annual ticket for public transportation. jonestly, nobody ever complains about it since really everyone uses public transportation. I even know very many young people who don't want to study at university but still do matriculate because the student ID is so cheap.
anyways, I live in a very poor area (berlin-neukölln) with a high criminality, unemployment, and immigrant rate and the public transport infrastructure is still very good. even at night on weekdays, busses still drive every 15 to 30 minutes.
Seriously, I really don't get how public transportation is (seen as) inferior in the big cities of the USA. With a good infrastructure, public transport can be so convenient (and eco-friendly). I wonder what someone from NYC would think if they visited Berlin or other big cities in Europe.
transpowally — November 16, 2010
All too true about bus stops being inconveniently located.
Sometimes it's a private property issue, where the transit agency has to locate out on the main street, instead of bringing the bus onto private property and right up to the mall buildings, for example. But this is a policy issue, when there's no process for working with private property owners.
Racism and class snobbery can be blamed too. In my hometown of Newport Beach, CA, shop owners bitched and moaned when a bus stop was placed in front of their stores, because they didn't want people hanging out (especially brown skinned people). Similarly, Newport Center (aka Fashion Island) used to have a great bus stop right in front of the mall buildings. The developer/owner, The Irvine Company, donated some land half a mile away for a new transportation center, making themselves look magnanimous, when they were really just trying to get rid of the lower class people from in front of their upscale stores.
Finally, while routing of buses might be inconvenient to *you*, it may actually be pretty good for getting its intended riders where *they* need to go. In Newport Beach again, bus routes are pretty good at delivering cleaning ladies to wealthy neighborhoods, but not a white collar worker to their job, or someplace else they might want to go.
Dave — November 16, 2010
You've obviously never ridden on a bus before or driven through a busy parking lot. It's hard enough to navigate one in a car, let alone a full-sized bus. It simply has to do with logistics and development. If the developer is only working with a small space, there is no way to accommodate a large bus.
Che — November 16, 2010
I just recently moved to Vermont, and the big shock to me is how riding the commuter bus is so encouraged! For environmental reasons, of course. I work at Dartmouth, and the college reimburses us for our bus tickets - sweet, since I live 35 miles from work and would otherwise be filling my gas tank once a week. I make well over minimum wage, but even so, it would be hard for me to afford gas (and you really have to live 45 minutes+ away from Hanover to find affordable housing!) - I still need to own a car, but the bus makes living here much more affordable.
I'm AM frustrated that bus tickets are MUCH cheaper for Dartmouth staff - so the vet who is taking a ride to the VA for medical care spends 3 times what Dartmouth pays for tickets (and a couple of times I've heard regular commuters talking about the "smelly" / loud / etc. VA patients who have been on the bus the day before, as if the bus belongs to the commuters).
But, in general, public transit is really good in VT - at least compared to other rural places I've lived. If you live outside of town, you need a ride to get to town - but bus routes connect many many of the small towns with larger towns.
Anyway, I'm just impressed that we have 2 bus routes (to Montpelier and Hanover) running through our county that has a population density of 41 people per square mile. And that, at least here, employers are making major efforts to make bus-riding less looked-down-upon.
Mint — November 16, 2010
I was actually a little surprised to hear this... in my town (small city), the bus will literally take you up to the mall's front entry, or the Kroger, Wal-mart, or whatever, they are listed as actual stops and they drop you off right at the door. You might have to walk to whatever store/shop you want to go to when you get there, but it is basically curb service. However, there is no shelter of any kind at any of these places, you have to wait outside in the parking lot/sidewalk or inside the store for the bus to arrive. Also, the bus route goes right by my house, so I can literally hail it from 20 steps from my door... I guess I'm just lucky, I never considered a city would put a "stop" so far away from where people are going. I guess you learn something every day.
Of course, our bus system has been described as so slow that it's practically unusable.. a recent study showed it would take 5 hours to merely get groceries with the current bus schedule.
Lynne Shapiro — November 17, 2010
A repost of the Hamden, CT "Miracle Mile" Map with the Panera Bread tag near the bus stop in the photographs. One solution that has been tried for such sprawl malls--smaller circulator vans, not only for bus riders but also for car drivers who want to park once and shop at a variety of stores in the vicinity. However, in the current recession and administration, municipal/state funded local bus services have been reduced--even in NYC. It would be up to mall operators to see a benefit to fund such a service, but then again there would be labor and liability issues.
Merryn — November 17, 2010
In Brisbane, Australia bus interchanges are on the grounds of (or under) most of the major shopping centres, close to the building entrances.
Mom in the Margins — November 17, 2010
I live in Stamford, CT on the minority side of town and I have stood outside after work waiting on the 13 to show up for over an hour some days. The bus system in CT in HORRIBLE! If you call and tell them that the bus never showed up, they tell you that you missed it! If the bus comes every half hour (which is ridiculous in itself) and I've been here an HOUR I did NOT miss the bus. That's impossible. It's horrible how long you have to wait. I leave for work at 7am and get home sometimes after 7 and I only work a 5 minute bus ride away! I stand out there rain or shine with my 15-month-old who is hungry and tired after a long day of daycare. And I am not the only one! There are usually 5 or 6 people waiting at that same stop. When the bus finally comes, they try to rush you to get on and I have to get the baby out of the stroller. Then because we've all been waiting so long the bus is so packed no one can sit down. Ugh. It was never like that when I lived on the other side of town.
Lynne Shapiro — November 17, 2010
Biking is only an option for a minority of very healthy people who aren't carrying packages or traveling with children and who can hold their own with heavy traffic or thieves who can try to overcome them and steal their bicycles.
Bus systems all over this country including in Stamford, New Haven and Hartford are run via usually rubber stamped, not well supervised multi-year contracts with a private corporation transit management enterprise, FirstTransit of Cleveland, a subsidiary of First Group of London an Enron-like multi-national transit management oonglomorate.
One day an investigate reporter will take on revealing all about FirstTransit's operations here in the U.S. I know in CT if one contacts the Connecticut Department of Transportation's public transportation office with a First Transit/dba CTTransit service problem, the e-mail is just sent to a FirstTransit/dba CTTransit clerk. Also FirstTransit/dba as CTTransit manages to place its employees on transit riders advocate groups such as Transit for CT (headed by people whom I know do not use transit regularly) that takes away these groups' ability to objectively evaluate the bus services for which they are advocating.
Back to the issue of bus stops and their placements in suburban malls and factory and office parks as well, I once thought that some the funds used for the Farmington Canal Rail to Trail in Hamden that goes behind part of the miracle mile might have been better spent to make safe and pleasant walking and biking paths between the various shopping developments in that area. I will repost the aerial map so people can get an idea of what I mean.
Lynne Shapiro — November 17, 2010
Panera Bread is near the bus stop in the photographs. The view shows the Farmington Canal bike and walking trail that is separated from the stores by a fence although one area of the fence at one point was cut to access one of the stores!
Lynne Shapiro — November 17, 2010
Lynne Shapiro — November 18, 2010
The bike vs. bus apples and oranges to me anyway ongoing discussion makes me think of another set of SI photographs I can take around classism, racism, sexism in transportation priorities vis a vis their advocates--of bicyclists gathered in downtown New Haven for a group ride and groups of people waiting for buses.
I took another bus trip to the Hamden Miracle Mile and stand corrected in that there is a sidewalk all the way from the curb up to the Wal-Mart door. Except for the Hamden Plaza, Hamden malls and free-standing set-back stores like Walgreens' on lower and upper Whitney Avenue tend to have such curb to door entrance sidewalks across parking lots, perhaps this being a building code stipulation other municipalities can adopt.
Also there is a very convenient to passengers possible bus stop at the Plaza that would not interfere with traffic to any store--at the stop sign as the bus comes down the hill from Mix Avenue to the left of the bowling alley with even a space for a bench and shelter. However, auto traffic from Mix Avenue apartments would be held up by buses picking up and discharging passengers there.
Lynne Shapiro — November 21, 2010
While I was looking for a late 1990's article about a retail worker who was killed crossing a thorough fare to get from a bus to a mall entrance, as happened in Stratford, CT in late 2006, "You Can't Get From Here to There" I found this interesting paper about U.S. approaches to transit services and funding.
Alex — November 22, 2010
I live in Ann Arbor, which has the best bus system I've encountered in a medium-sized Midwestern city. That said, the best is still pretty poor, especially when it comes to the services for people with disabilities. One of the big strip malls, Arborland, decided they didn't want the bus stop on their property anymore. The eastbound bus stop is now across a five-lane road and a vast parking lot from the stores. Purportedly, the owners of Arborland were concerned that people were parking in their lot and taking the bus into downtown. I never had trouble finding parking at Arborland, and you'd think they'd *want* to attract commuters to their stores.
This decision is a huge neon sign telling people that bus riders are not welcome at Arborland. If you're poor, disabled, or just environmentally conscious, they don't want you in their strip mall. Of course, the stores' own low-wage employees are disproportionately affected.
It seems the strip mall owners are more concerned with status than business sense.
Lynne Shapiro — November 22, 2010
http://www.arborlandcenter.com/location/default.cfm I hope this works--is there a delete function for posts or an edit function for when we have such a problem. This should be an satellite map of the Arborland Mall showing the highways that need to be crossed to the bus stop.
Lynne Shapiro — November 23, 2010
I'm not paying attention to Jeff as he obviously needs to go against anything anyone says word for word when to me we are talking about the security and safety of a v people's lives in their various states of health and other circumstances.
Here instead is another example of marginalizing bus riders, but in a "new urbanism" town center mall design at Reston Town Center, VA outside of D.C. which I visited in the fall of 2005. There are no bus stops anywhere along the traditional sidewalks as there would be in a traditional city center. Instead the bus stop is at the edge of the development as shown on the bottom of this map. I took photos of the bus stop that I would add if the opportunity arose in this thread or at another time.
Susan — November 26, 2010
I live in the DC area and there's so many bus stops I see just along the sides of highways I often wonder if anybody actually uses, as they're at LEAST a 15 minute walk to absolutely anything. I've found Metrobus to be pretty good but a lot of the suburban bus lines are horrible. I tried taking the bus to work just to see if it would be a viable option and it took over an hour to get to what's a 15 minute car ride and dropped me off on the complete opposite side of a busy road to where the shopping center was.
Sunday Morning Statshot « The Gondola Project — December 5, 2010
[...] Cause of low public transit ridership: Bus stop marginalization AKPC_IDS += "3532,"; [...]
Lynne Shapiro — December 8, 2010
I learned a new way to handle bus stigma with people in my leading edge Baby Boomer group here in the New Haven area who claims to be environmentalists but say like one woman did today "you took the bus here?" like I did a really unusual thing. I said back to her "yes, I lived in Manhattan for many years and you can take me out of Manhattan but never take Manhattan and bus riding out of me."
titania06 — December 14, 2010
I don't know if anyone's posted about this incident:
"On the morning of December 14, 1995, Cynthia Wiggins was struck by a dump truck as she attempted to cross a busy highway after alighting a NFTA bus; she died of her injuries 19 days later. At the time of the accident, Wiggins was on her way to work at the Walden Galleria Mall in suburban Erie County, a 50-minute bus ride from her home in inner-city Buffalo, New York. Since Pyramid Companies, the mall owner, did not allow buses serving inner-city Buffalo to stop in the mall’s parking lot, Wiggins got off at the closest bus stop, which was 300 yards away from the mall and across a seven-lane highway with no sidewalk. It was while weaving through parked cars at an intersection on this highway that Wiggins was hit when the light turned green before she was safely across. The Wiggins family sought $150 million in damages from multiple defendants, including NFTA. The lawsuit claimed that NFTA was negligent in dropping off a rider at a location without appropriate pedestrian access, which NFTA knew or should have known made the bus stop dangerous. Instead, the transit agency should have dropped off riders on mall property or at least near a crosswalk. NFTA argued that it fulfilled its obligation to Wiggins by delivering her safely to her destination. Furthermore, the transit agency had attempted to establish a bus stop on mall property, but the mall owners refused to allow it. The lawsuit was settled for $2.55 million, with NFTA responsible for $300,000 of the damages."
Lynne Shapiro — December 14, 2010
Yes, this was reported a national newsmagazine article "Can't Get from Here to There" I was trying to find and post here. Well, it's 15 years later and we are in the same situation--what and who will it take for a 60's seachange. I speak with people on the bus, but one even said to me with my more casual clothes "what are you going to have a protest" when I talked with her about better evening service on our route.
Foolish to believe in public transit — November 8, 2018
I advise all young people to get a license and a car or at least lease a car. Many businesses are relocating to industrial parks with lousy public transit and no pedestrian crossings to get to those bus stops. Workers without cars risk their lives every day to jwalk across heavy rush hour traffic. One example is Ottawa Canada and Colonnade Road. Please young people, get a car and use it. Do not rely on Ottawa's public transit. Ottawa is a public transit hating city. The car is king here. Transit users do not count in this over privileged city.
Dahlia Balduf — June 20, 2021
The world class player started his profession in early seventy's. Better steer clear of casinos that don't have a hotel connected to them. The tournament region is the nicest it has at any time been at Binion's.
Teresa — February 24, 2022
Thank you for this. I do not have a car and rely on buses. Something else that should be mentioned is that during snowstorms, snow is always piled against the curb, even if there is a bus stop there. Many times I haven't been able to climb over to get to the stop and had to wait in the street.