Millions of pounds of public money is spent on bus shelters every year.
Whether the money is spent by local authorities or contractors on their behalf, it is clear that the importance of providing high-quality bus shelters is recognised by the majority of decision-makers.
Some constituents, however, might argue that they represent unnecessary purchases and that their council tax is better spent on something else. It’s an interesting debate, as it is certainly more than possible to catch a bus whilst standing up.
Let’s explore the main reasons why local authorities are keen to invest in bus shelters.
Encourage use of buses
There are plenty of ways that shelters could encourage local residents to use the bus more often.
For one, it helps bus stops stand out from a greater distance, meaning that residents are more likely to know where their nearest bus stop is. Secondly, it can help protect people from the elements before their bus arrives, so that more people are encouraged to wait during bad weather instead of hopping in the car. What’s more, a lot of modern bus stops have electronic real-time timetables so that residents can be more sure of exactly how long they have to wait.
Central government is on a huge drive to reduce pollution and the use of public transport instead of cars is a great way to do so. The reduction of traffic in busy areas of a town is also something that will concern local governments. A better bus service might encourage more residents to spend money in their local community rather than elsewhere. Also, what’s the point in spending any money on maintaining a bus service if it’s not being used enough?
Bus shelters provide a good advertising opportunity and a great way for the owners to make money. Bus shelter advertising has been popular for some time now and it’s rare to see a billboard unfilled at a bus stop. The cost of installing a bus shelter is a one-off payment, but advertising revenue could continue the entirety of the shelter’s existence.
Bus stops near traffic lights, in town centres or by high-traffic areas are particularly popular amongst advertisers and can often command a higher fee. This revenue stream is something that all councils will want to encourage. In this way, improved bus shelters are an serious investment rather than a needless expense.
Brighten up communities
As well as being genuinely useful, modern bus stops can help brighten up any community. Residents want a community that they are proud of. Councils spend thousands of pounds on ensuring that their communities are pleasant to look at and this type of street furniture is as good as any at doing just that. Some of the newer bus stops on shelter are seriously attractive. No, really.
As you can see, there are genuine reasons for bus shelters to exist and tangible benefits from having them in our local communities. There are certainly worse ways for council tax money to be spent.