Improving Accessibility At Your Bus Shelter: A Guide

Accessibility is a key word for any local authority or town planner to get their heads around these days – and with very good reason. There’s been a lot of increased awareness about accessibility in recent years, and it’s more important than ever that bus passengers with additional requirements are catered for.

Depending on the circumstances and location, it may even be a legal requirement for street architecture to follow certain principles of accessible design. But it can sometimes seem difficult to know where to start – and that’s where this blog post can help.

Hand rails

It may seem like a simple starting point, but the sad reality is that there are still plenty of bus shelters across the UK which are not fitted with hand rails or grab rails. This can make bus travel very difficult for customers with mobility challenges, and could even cause danger if there are trip hazards in the area like uneven paving stones. Luckily, it’s a simple fix: most bus shelters can be fitted with hand rails retrospectively.

Appropriate distances

Many bus firms are increasing the number of vehicles in their fleet which have full disabled access, and this can often include equipment designed for wheelchairs – like an entry point with an adjustable floor, controlled by hydraulics or electricity. Ensuring that the bus shelter is set back far enough from the kerbside can make a big difference here, and help wheelchair users have enough space to navigate their way on to the bus when it arrives.

Signage and timetables

We’ve all been there: standing at a bus stop in the rain, squinting hard to see the details of the timetable and wondering when the next bus will arrive. For those who have visual impairments, this is a challenge that can cause significant problems – and could even force people to find a different mode of travel. Printing bus shelter signage in large print, and having an alternative in Braille, can make all the difference.

Multi-use shelters

On many of Britain’s streets, bus shelters are perhaps one of the only points at which the services and work of the relevant local authority or management company are represented. And so it makes sense from both a branding and cost-effectiveness perspective to cluster together services in one large multi-use construction.

This allows for everything from bike racks to seating areas to be installed. And if features such as bin stores are also integrated into the shelter (as perhaps they may be in a residential area such as the forecourt of a block of flats), it’s important to ensure the double doors are hinged to enable accessibility. Multi-use shelters are often more accessibility-friendly generally simply because of their size, as they offer plenty of space for wheelchair users.

Ace Shelters is a prominent manufacturer of bus shelters and regularly works with all sorts of organisations to ensure their street architecture is accessibility-friendly. If you’d like to learn more about our shelters, just click here.