Bus stops – a yearning for simpler times

by The Editor


There are a couple of structures in Canberra that are recognisable across the country (and perhaps around the world) – certainly Parliament House, The War Memorial and Telstra Tower come to mind.  However, along with the little square guard boxes located in the diplomatic suburbs of Canberra, there is another architectural darling that resonates with those who have experienced more than just a fleeting visit to this town.

It’s Canberra’s own version of the humble bus stop.

While not the most functional of designs – they are a bit breezy during more unsavoury Canberra winter days. However, as they are slowly replaced by more modern versions it’s easy to discern what we’ve lost in the transition.  Put simply, the new bus stops are not so easy to love.

Certainly, the plain, old, concrete bus shelters were elegant in their simplicity.  A cylinder with a flat roof, an orange portal and a giant blue ACTION logo. Simply put: there is nothing like them anywhere.  Now, rather than the bus drivers being attracted by the site of an arm sticking out these alien shapes, our streets are adorned with six foot high ads that light up at night. Was this really the right step?

Billboards are not permitted in the ACT. Did you happen to notice? How then is it that we’re stuck with these new and horribly gauche bus stops that are far more suited to George or Flinders streets rather than the broad, green verges of Canberra’s suburbs?

It seems others are rather dissatisfied with these structures – certainly in regard to their large advertising hoards if not the maintenance of tradition. Walking through the city the other day, we noticed one of the London Circuit editions had been decorated with some wonderfully understated street art.

New Bus Shelter Wide

On closer inspection, the sticker placed in the centre of the model’s head like some bindi of protestation contains four simple words. For us, it sums up everything that is wrong with the move from the old bus shelters to the new, and justifies the ongoing  policy of keeping billboards off our streets.

Nice work, whoever you are!

New Bus Shelter Detail