Sunday, 2 March 2008

is that all?

This evening we were a bit early for the bus. So we had a wander around the new Aberdeen Bus Station.

I love my buildings, wander about and critiques on buildings. So it is no surprise I have a few things to say about this new development.

Overall, the new Aberdeen Bus Station is part of the £82m Union Square Development.

The bus station occupies 9,500 sq ft with an estimation of 500,000 people passing through annually.

Many agreed that the new bus station is far better than the old one. The brand new station does look nice, just because it is new. And that is all I think it is worth.

Now, where do I begin? O_o"

The indoor area of the station consists of many obvious undesirable looking heaters or heater curtains. Wait, I’m not sure if it classify as curtains because it is not continuous. Anyways, I know these heaters will come in to good use when it is switched on during winter times. And I do hope it will be switch on then!

This area includes a long bus ticketing counter. Opposite the counters, currently with its roller shutters down, I can only speculate it is the (or one of the few) entrance(s) to the new Union Square retail part of the development.

The high ceiling makes the area airy and bright, of this brightness, artificial lighting actually played a big part. Currently, this area is being used as an indoor waiting area, with only two measly plastic chairs.
Where are the waiting seats?

Now, if this is going to be a high flow area in future, will it still be considered as a waiting area?

Where are people going to wait in the warmth?

Currently, there are no seats in any area for people waiting for their busses. I wonder has any seating been allowed for within their £2m bus station development.

The new bus station has been fitted with about ten 32" LCD screens just above the bus stances. It is beautiful and supposed to provide information on busses.

Supposed, because at the moment it just shows slides of ‘Welcome to Aberdeen Bus Station’, Stagecoach bus product information, apologies for the inconvenience caused during the development, and any information along those lines.

With say, ten screens, I wonder what they are going to show there.

Stance two: xyz bus to Stonehaven. Departing xx:xx.

The same goes with all the screens?

Why so many screens???

I’m sure the bus station is fitted with numerous CCTVs so let’s hope that there won’t be any damages to the nice LCD screens.

However, the bus station is just beside the harbour. Because of this location, Aberdeen always feels a little colder at times because of gales from the sea.
Now, if it rains and the gales are blowing, what will happen to the screens? I supposed they are waterproofed?

Speaking of rain, I don’t understand why there is no cover above the stances?
The part under the ‘veranda’ (if that is what it is called) and the bus. When it rains, passengers will get wet trying to get on the bus. What about stances 1 and 2, where busses heading south (Scotland and England included) stops at? There are no coverings above these stances, at all! The ticket investigator and passengers, including the bus driver who is loading the bags will all get wet!

I’ve noticed a few times that queues for busses in stances 1 and 2 snakes around the building into the ‘indoor waiting area’. Although I understand that this probably happens every half an hour or every hour for a duration of time, if the indoor area is a high flow area, it would be really congested.

As of now, trying to walk around the building to get into the queue is difficult enough!

So, what if there is a queue for tickets in that high flow area?

Then there are these nice galvanised fence-like barriers at each stance (applies only from stance three onwards). How are people going to put their bags into the luggage compartment of the bus? Even if this task is going to be carried out by one person, bigger bags might have a problem going through the space between the bus and the barriers.

Perhaps, the above stances were designed for short distances busses, the kind that you don’t have to put any luggage in the luggage compartment.

With any transportation hub (airports, railway stations, transport interchanges, etc.) passenger pick up and drop off area is fundamental.

But where is this pick up and drop off area?

Where should the elderly, disabled or even those with huge luggage be dropped off at or picked up from?

Where is a taxi rank should one need it? At the railway station?


These are the few I've observed, for now.

I want to love this new bus station, but as hard as I am trying, it is proving to be difficult.

Yes, the new Aberdeen bus station is indeed a welcoming sight. A new development, which in my humble opinion could have been designed way better.

Perhaps the developer/ architect/ designer should have spent some time in a bus station doing more research, observing what can be improved, asking commuters and passengers what they want, what can be bettered.

Maybe most of them were privileged enough to drive fancy cars and not worry too much about their carbon footprints, or perhaps they have never taken a bus from a bus station before, who knows?

It is a new development. One which the developer had a chance to deliver a better designed, user friendlier and more practical bus station, but it was somehow overlooked.

I can only hope that this is not all. There is more good to come.

Let's wait and see...

For more pics on the bus station, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just tried to find out some info on the new station with regards to picking some one up there, and noit a jot from Stagecoach, first bus or Aberdeen Scity Council. How typical that I foind more info from your blog and from the shooping web than any other site on the Web. New bus statipon = nightmare, now less integrated than before!