The Paris public transportation authority, the RATP, has installed a new prototype of a multi-service bus stop. The concept is interesting: to move the bus stop from just being a shelter to becoming a center for all types of small urban functions. The prototype is up and intriguing Parisians on a site across the street from the Gare de Lyon.
The stop is the brainchild of Yo Kaminagaï, who is in charge of design at the RATP. It is the equivalent of a concept car, apparently not intended for broader roll out, but just to test ideas. It is part of the EBSF (European Bus System of the Future) program, a research and development program funded by the European Commission.
The prototype, which was designed by Marc Aurel, has a surface of 915 square feet, of which almost 400 are covered. It has seating for 11, information screens, an automated ticket seller, WIFI, electricity sockets for charging personal devices, a lending library, bicycle stands, a coffee stand and a defibrillator. Although it was not evident in today’s weather, the walls apparently double as heaters. The prototype cost €350,000 ($440,000).
Le Parisien reports that people love the prototype, although some wonder whether it’s really worth spending so much money for a bus stop. In any case, the RATP is asking for feedback to be sent by users during the six month trial to firstname.lastname@example.org. The design has attracted attention: Spanish daily ABC, for example, dedicated an article to this “glamour stop.”
During the 20 minutes I spent hanging around the prototype on a weekday evening, I have to say that the prototype fully played its role. Many people stopped by to get information from the touch screens, to wait for the bus, to look at the bicycles and other features, or just to rest for a moment. It was fun to see a bus stop take on a hitherto unsuspected role as a center of life.