Modular Bus Stops are Coming
SacRT will be joining other transit agencies in cities like New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Oakland in experimenting with MBS, which are quick-build platforms made with recycled plastic panels that snap together like puzzle pieces and bolt into the ground. Some MBS are floating boarding islands, which leave room for bikers to safely pass by. Others are bulbs that jut out from sidewalks, allowing buses to stop without leaving their lanes. RT’s MBS are manufactured by Zicla and each platform costs approximately $50,000. More than cost, the MBS snap-on platforms will give RT and city planners the needed flexibility for the ease of dissembling and reorganizing or moving. The MBS will be used until a permanent bus stop improvement project is completed at each location. This will be ideal for RT to test out the impact, durability, and different platform configurations—a floating bus stop versus one with an integrated bus lane—or testing the efficiency of just one type in different areas. SacRT plans to use the MBS temporarily at select bus stops in their district for the launch of their new bus network, SacRT Forward, starting on Sunday, September 8, 2019. This will be an opportunity for the public to see an MBS in a real life setting and interact with SacRT staff. Here is a video of successful floating bus stops in action in San Francisco.
One potential problem with the floating bus stop design, at least when initially introduced into a city with no previous experience of the concept, is the conflict with pedestrians who are entering or exiting buses and must cross the bike lane to get to and from the stop. The islands must be big enough to give transit passengers a comfortable place to stand, and the cycle path must be clearly demarcated by differing pavement heights and coloring (watch this video of an English bus stop that floats in a very unprotected and sketchy way). Curb cuts with textured surfaces can assist the visually impaired to navigate the situation. What do you think riders?