1 August 2012

ACT Government putting a 'stop' to the Concrete Bus Shelters?

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What is happening to our bus stops?

Lately, some bus stops in Canberra have been subjected to drastic remodelling. Many bus stops situated around Canberra feature a round, cream and orange coloured, concrete shelter. These bus shelters are considered to be Canberra icons as they are unlike any other in Australia, however these icons are under threat of being removed and replaced with generic bus shelters made of aluminium and glass.

Designed by highly regarded, local Canberran architect, Clem Cummings (1934 – 1997), the cream and orange bus shelters first appeared at Canberra bus stops in 1975. Cummings was a prominent figure in the architecture profession and has an award dedicated to him known as the Clem Cummings Medal that recognises contributions by persons to architecture and the public interest.

The concrete bus shelters were designed during the ‘Brutalist’ period of architecture. Brutalism is the label retrospectively given to a style of architecture that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. It is perhaps, most characterised by heavy expanses of exposed concrete and virtually no other decorations, a style these bus shelters emulate. They have been characterised by locals with colourful names such as: ‘The Tanks’, ‘The Pill Boxes’, and ‘The Concrete Bunkers’. You may find, however, that a lot of these ‘Brutalist’ bus shelters have beautiful artist murals that give it an added individual charm.

If you have not been able to appreciate the character these bus shelters exude, perhaps the next time you come across one, take some time to examine it a little more closely. You may be surprised to notice that even its simple geometric shape compliments the garden suburb personality of Canberra’s street environments.

These concrete bus stops have become a recognisable and familiar feature of Canberra’s suburban landscape, leaving an imprint on the minds of residents and visitors alike. The fact that these bus shelters still serve their practical purpose well raises questions about the rationale of having them ripped out and replaced. When he designed Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin stated: “I have designed a city that is not like any other in the world.”

Although that legacy remains today, it is under threat. In this particular example the threat is in the form of your stereotypical bus shelter made of aluminium and glass that can be found everywhere else outside of Canberra.

Have your say – please share your stories and experiences you have had with these concrete bus shelters.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83914356@N03/7688106674/

Lyttleton Crescent, Cook, ACT 2614

http://www.flickr.com/photos/83914356@N03/7687821386/

Lachlan Street, Macquarie, ACT 2614

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Robz said :

JC said :

Your obviously not looking too closely. It seems that the old bunker shelters as they are known when replaced by a new model are moved elsewhere in Canberra. So they will be around for a bit longer yet so you can take a chill pill now and relax a little.

Unless the old “bunker style” bus shelters can not be repaired, why would they need to move and replaced by one of the flimsy, ineffective, free ones ????

How many of the old ones are found to be “unrepairable” and not reused. If anyone has seen an old one being reinstalled somewhere, please advise on here. I can not see the old bunker style bus shelters being reused for say, the Molonglo valley bus routes. If a new or replacement bus shelter is needed, why wouldn’t one of the new, free ones complete with advertising, be installed instead.

The reason they move them is to put the new ones in more visible locations (for the advertising) and then relocate the older ones to less used or less visible locations.

Must admit haven’t seen a move for a while so maybe they have stopped doing it, especially as most of the more visible (main road) stops are the newer style, but that is what they did before including putting older bunkers into new suburbs.

Considering it is zero cost to the ACT don’t see any great issue.

pink little birdie said :

Bonkers said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

Just like the windows in the bunkers. There was a time they had Perspex Windows and the action logo on a fibreglass panel that surrounded the window.

I was referring more to the windows facing London Circuit on the Legislative assembly building that were destroyed not once but twice by the same person.

JC said :

Your obviously not looking too closely. It seems that the old bunker shelters as they are known when replaced by a new model are moved elsewhere in Canberra. So they will be around for a bit longer yet so you can take a chill pill now and relax a little.

Unless the old “bunker style” bus shelters can not be repaired, why would they need to move and replaced by one of the flimsy, ineffective, free ones ???? How many of the old ones are found to be “unrepairable” and not reused. If anyone has seen an old one being reinstalled somewhere, please advise on here. I can not see the old bunker style bus shelters being reused for say, the Molonglo valley bus routes. If a new or replacement bus shelter is needed, why wouldn’t one of the new, free ones complete with advertising, be installed instead.

Bonkers said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

Just like the windows in the bunkers. There was a time they had Perspex Windows and the action logo on a fibreglass panel that surrounded the window.

A_Cog said :

K320Scania said :

I’d love one of these concrete bus shelters in my garden. With a fresh coat of paint and a table setting inside they would be a cool feature in the garden. But unfortunately, as my garden has been landscaped and planted out I don’t have the room now. They are great looking and decorative; something the modern replacements, lack.

I 100% agree. The old ones are quirky, solid and identifiable. I think they’re great and would love one in my back yard – as you say, a coat of paint and they’d be a great garden feature. Does anyone happen to know what’s happening to the ones being removed?

As I said above they generally get relocated elsewhere unless they are damaged.

K320Scania said :

I’d love one of these concrete bus shelters in my garden. With a fresh coat of paint and a table setting inside they would be a cool feature in the garden. But unfortunately, as my garden has been landscaped and planted out I don’t have the room now. They are great looking and decorative; something the modern replacements, lack.

I 100% agree. The old ones are quirky, solid and identifiable. I think they’re great and would love one in my back yard – as you say, a coat of paint and they’d be a great garden feature. Does anyone happen to know what’s happening to the ones being removed?

wildturkeycanoe10:49 pm 09 Aug 16

Bonkers said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

I’ve seen the glass on the one near our place replaced almost every week. I stopped and asked the guys replacing the glass why they didn’t use Lexan so they couldn’t smash it. Apparently it burns really well, so it isn’t used either.

wildturkeycanoe said :

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

Glass panels are vandal bait in Canberra.
One of them will be checking out the best new hammer to buy as I type this.

madelini said :

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

You will find the company that installs the glass ones does it at no cost to the government, they make their money back through the advertising panels. Also think you will find that if they replace a bunker shelter that the government moves that shelter to somewhere else unless it is too damaged and is scrapped.

burtthebike said :

The old shelters must go. They no longer match the weakness of the current times. They belong back in a time of strength

Right on! Back in BSG times.

I’d love one of these concrete bus shelters in my garden. With a fresh coat of paint and a table setting inside they would be a cool feature in the garden. But unfortunately, as my garden has been landscaped and planted out I don’t have the room now. They are great looking and decorative; something the modern replacements, lack.
As to someone complaining they are dirty (without re-reading everything to check, likely referring to vomit and urine), do you really imagine that putting in a new bus shelter will change anything regarding this?
What is good about the old bus shelters is that the bus can be seen coming when waiting inside them, providing of course, they are installed correctly, and most I have used have been directioned correctly; not facing the road, but facing where the bus comes from. If a bus shelter isn’t facing the arriving bus, don’t blame the design; blame whoever installed it incorrectly.
Something that ‘amuses’ me reading comments here is that I wonder how many of the detractors actually catch buses and therefore have actually tried out the different bus designs.

The old shelters must go. They no longer match the weakness of the current times. They belong back in a time of strength

does anyone have any news on the program to get rid of the concrete bus shelters?

I thought they were replacing damaged ones, but it seems like they are being systematically replaced with the thin glass versions covered in signage.

It seems like a waste of money to remove a functional bus stop, and put up a flimsier one, so you can hang sings on it.

“Brutalism is the label retrospectively given to a style of architecture that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. It is perhaps, most characterised by heavy expanses of exposed concrete and virtually no other decorations”

Haven’t come across this term before. It’s so heartening that this extra special flavour of ugly has its own name.

Your obviously not looking too closely. It seems that the old bunker shelters as they are known when replaced by a new model are moved elsewhere in Canberra. So they will be around for a bit longer yet so you can take a chill pill now and relax a little.

thatsnotme said :

Gantz said :

The newer bus ‘shelters’ windows are plastic, pretty sturdy also.

Are you talking about the ad-shell shelters, with advertisements inside and out? Because all of the ones I’ve been to have glass windows. I know this, because there have been several mornings when all that’s been left of them is broken glass on the ground.

I have to say though, that whenever this has happened, the glass has been replaced pretty quickly, and the mess cleaned up. I can only assume that the owners realise that advertisers don’t want to pay for ads surrounded by broken glass and mess.

I am scratching my head why they use glass instead of polycarbonate… the stuff they use in blast and bullet resistant glass, and indeed, vandal resistant glass from companies like Veridian.

OK, it’s late, I have been at the duty free, and I’m avoiding watching some Slovenian person go around little flag things in a tiny boat on rough water, but…the more I look at the photos of the old concrete bus-stops and the new, open ones, the more it seems to mark the shift between an older notion of self (huddled with a book, perhaps) and the new, always on display self, ready to be ‘imaged’ on any phone and made available to anyone, anywhere.

Which is not to say that I’d feel safe in the old bunkers. Not at all.

Gantz said :

The newer bus ‘shelters’ windows are plastic, pretty sturdy also.

Are you talking about the ad-shell shelters, with advertisements inside and out? Because all of the ones I’ve been to have glass windows. I know this, because there have been several mornings when all that’s been left of them is broken glass on the ground.

I have to say though, that whenever this has happened, the glass has been replaced pretty quickly, and the mess cleaned up. I can only assume that the owners realise that advertisers don’t want to pay for ads surrounded by broken glass and mess.

Masquara said :

That’s because the ACT Government thinks of them as vehicles for advertising rather than shelter.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that the ACT Government has been advertising alcohol at bus shelters opposite schools all year, in contravention of its own guidelines on the management of alcohol? The two shelters opposite Campbell High on Limestone Avenue are a case in point: they advertised American Honey bourbon (sickly sweet & aimed specifically at the youth market) for two or three months in the first half of the year in the shelter where the Campbell High School kids gather, and then a brand of beer on the other side of the road (where Campbell High kids also gather) more recently. The Government’s own guidelines undertake to: “Reduce young people?s exposure to alcohol advertising by working with the Australian Government and other state and territory governments to ensure alcohol products are not targeted at people younger than 18 years.”

To locate the document online, search for “ACT alcohol tobacco and other drugs strategy”

I don’t know if anything’s changed since these shelters started to be installed originally, but the deal with these shelters is that the ad-shell pay to have them installed, then sell advertising within them to recoup their costs. So the ACT Government hasn’t been advertising anything – ad-shell has been.

I agree that alcohol advertising at bus shelters near schools shouldn’t happen though, and I hope that you’ve raised the issue directly with the ACT Government. I’d like to think that their contract with ad-shell covers stuff like that…I’m not confident that’d be the case though.

I recall way back when I was a spotty student (Possibly late 80’s/early 90’s), the gummint had decided to cease deploying and commence actively replacing the “gun emplacement” bus shelters. This stuck in my head because someone was almost immediately killed in Curtin (on McCulloch St., IIRC) when vehicle ran-over one of the new aluminium/glass shelters.

I felt at the time (and still do) that it’s sad these distinct things I’d grown-up with were going-away (Although it was difficult to argue with the safety reasoning).

They used to have lights and perspex windows too! I too have seen them outside Canberra some times as well.

…also, both the lighting and the passenger information could be solar powered, making the upgrade quite easy.

I don’t like them as they are at the moment, but I think they could be made better.
Add lighting and for high traffic ones passenger information system, and perhaps paint them the same shade of Green as the original timber bus shelters Canberra had, a couple of exampls of which still survive near Manuka.

At the moment, the bright colour shows up years of dirt and the design makes them a risky proposition after dark I think.

the old concrete shelters are much better than the new ones.
plus they don’t have ads on them!

I like the old bus shelters. They have character and generally can’t be smashed to bits by drunken louts.

The sooner the pill boxes are replaced by the more modern stops the better. Many of the older stops are quite impractical because their walls prevent one from having a good field of vision. At some, you can’t actually see a bus coming unless you stand outside. As for their aesthetics they are woeful to look at. I much prefer the lower profile aluminium and glass stops as they blend into the side of the road more pleasingly.

I’m glad that this “brutalism” movement you seem to cherish died out after the 60’s and 70’s. “…heavy expanses of exposed concrete and virtually no other decorations…” – I don’t wan’t our bus shelters emulating that style. No thanks!!

Ray Polglaze said :

The problem with new bus shelters is that while they look modern they don’t do much sheltering. They don’t provide much protection from rain, or wind or the sun.

That’s because the ACT Government thinks of them as vehicles for advertising rather than shelter.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that the ACT Government has been advertising alcohol at bus shelters opposite schools all year, in contravention of its own guidelines on the management of alcohol? The two shelters opposite Campbell High on Limestone Avenue are a case in point: they advertised American Honey bourbon (sickly sweet & aimed specifically at the youth market) for two or three months in the first half of the year in the shelter where the Campbell High School kids gather, and then a brand of beer on the other side of the road (where Campbell High kids also gather) more recently. The Government’s own guidelines undertake to: “Reduce young people?s exposure to alcohol advertising by working with the Australian Government and other state and territory governments to ensure alcohol products are not targeted at people younger than 18 years.”

To locate the document online, search for “ACT alcohol tobacco and other drugs strategy”

ACT Bus said :

In the majority of cases, the bunker shelters are actually being ‘transplanted’ elsewhere into the network. You’ll see more of them pop up in the older suburbs as the ones on the major thoroughfares are replaced with the newer ones.

Are they selling any of them? I can think of a couple of uses out at the farm for them.

In the majority of cases, the bunker shelters are actually being ‘transplanted’ elsewhere into the network. You’ll see more of them pop up in the older suburbs as the ones on the major thoroughfares are replaced with the newer ones.

there’s one new bus shelter along Melrose drive that was smashed into oblivion not that long ago.

Gantz said :

If that’s what it means to enter the 21st century then you’ll find me partying like it’s still 1999

You’ll find the excitement you have for partying ‘like it’s 1999’ is the fact that you will be entering the year 2000, the 21st century and a new Millennium.

The newer bus ‘shelters’ windows are plastic, pretty sturdy also.

I think that it would be cruel to evict the trolls who live in such a bus shelter near me. One wears a skirt made of plastic bags, and the other mumbles something about how much he earns to whoever will listen. We nod and give him small pieces of goat.

The ‘stop’ in the headline is as clunky and retro as the bus-shelters, incidentally.

p1 said :

There used to be one near my house in Cook which had collected sufficient leaves on the roof for it to mulch down and grow a decent crop of grass.

So, they *did* ‘compliment the garden suburb personality of Canberra’s street environments’!

There used to be one near my house in Cook which had collected sufficient leaves on the roof for it to mulch down and grow a decent crop of grass.

There is one in Goulburn as well http://goo.gl/maps/6Ym4e

I remember as a schoolkid being driven to Forster for a family holiday in January 1976 seeing one of these “iconic shelters” on the central coast near Wyong (No F3 all the way to Newcastle back then). They are/were not “unique to Canberra”.

Can i get an old one from the ACT gov? Would make a good chook / wood shed / cubby house / fallout shelter.

Gantz said :

They are ugly, cold, and at night, especially dark. They have been around for so long, that the only thing you’ll find on examining one, as you have suggested would be fun,
is broken seating, blood, spit trash, gum and a strong stench of urine.

They offer no protection from the elements (though neither do the new shelters) and are a high security risk.

They ‘exude’ no character, and are ugly, deteriorating concrete slabs, that now removed, should have our Town seem like it is entering the 21st century.

Stuff that, it’s the new crappy glass ones that are the problem. They glass bits are always being broken, the seats are uncomfy and the only part of the structure that’s vandalism resistant is the great big fracking ads that comprise half of the shelter. The new ones are the ugly ones, representative of the cheap disposable culture of today, and of the influence corporate entities are having over more and more aspects of our lives. ‘

If that’s what it means to enter the 21st century then you’ll find me partying like it’s still 1999

Ray Polglaze3:10 pm 01 Aug 12

The problem with new bus shelters is that while they look modern they don’t do much sheltering. They don’t provide much protection from rain, or wind or the sun. While the old bus shelters may look ugly and are not well maintained by the ACT Government, they do provide much more protection from the rain, wind and sun. This is important if you use bus shelters and are looking for shelter.

They are ugly, cold, and at night, especially dark. They have been around for so long, that the only thing you’ll find on examining one, as you have suggested would be fun,
is broken seating, blood, spit trash, gum and a strong stench of urine.

They offer no protection from the elements (though neither do the new shelters) and are a high security risk.

They ‘exude’ no character, and are ugly, deteriorating concrete slabs, that now removed, should have our Town seem like it is entering the 21st century.

I think the old ones look awful. I’m not really sad to see them go.

The one in Goulburn is probably a severed big merino testicle.

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