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British Bus Shelters
May 15, 2012 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Some British bus shelters are, implausibly, powered by the light of the sun, and some can see what you’re up to & tell you to stop doing it. Others smell like baked potatoes, or dispense free pieces of cake. Others still can get you high if you set them on fire. More often though, these are dreary, malodorous locales where one is increasingly less likely to see a bus, let alone three coming along at once. Photographer Steve Ellaway has embarked on a project to photograph the bus shelters of South Wales: an unpromising subject on the surface of it, but one that has yielded surprisingly rich and varied results.
posted by misteraitch (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
The cake thing was intriguing until I googled Angel Slice, which looks quite revolting. :(
posted by elizardbits at 7:32 AM on May 15, 2012


I'm actually going to London in a couple weeks - I'm going to mostly be walking everywhere, but now I wanna find some of these bus shelters just to SEE them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 AM on May 15, 2012


(&/or smell them)
posted by elizardbits at 7:41 AM on May 15, 2012


....And it looks like one will be right by my hotel. Huh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 AM on May 15, 2012


What, no mention of Bradford's architecturally and artistically interesting bus shelters?
posted by ninebelow at 7:46 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favourite bus shelter will forever be the Unst Bus Shelter, but a bus shelter that will give me free cake is almost certainly a close second.
posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo at 7:50 AM on May 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I still think I choose cake over death, but I think I'd be pretty annoyed at having to smell "the smell of Angel Slices from a scent spray used on the poster site" at my bus stop every day. Just what I need, fake/stale scent being forced on me.
posted by nat at 8:08 AM on May 15, 2012


I thought those links were going to point out that "one is increasingly less likely to see a bus" just because every square inch of the glass or perspex has been scratched to shit by those mischievous scamps that make modern Britain such a delight.
posted by Flashman at 8:13 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why didn't I read about this when they were actually dispensing the angel slices? They're so moist and delicious.

The talking bus stops were at the old bus stop by my in-laws, but they only said something when people were smoking weed. And then it was over a loudspeaker.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:24 AM on May 15, 2012


I had a slice of cake and can confirm that it was very good. A very nice surprise at a bus stop.

(The bus stop where they did this and the baked potato is the one just north of Goodge Street Station, on the same side of the street. It's right outside the American Church in London, W1T 4DT)
posted by DanCall at 8:35 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm. The one that tells you to stop doing something is said to save £300,000 a year in repairs. I wonder how much the system costs to operate?
posted by Night_owl at 8:37 AM on May 15, 2012


Bus Stop: Hey! Don't Bogart that Joint!

Passerby: 'ere, I'll 'ave a bit of that, chum.

Chum: 'old on, I 'aven't got it rolled up yet, 'ave I?

Bus Stop: Who's got a match?
posted by mule98J at 9:02 AM on May 15, 2012


... and some just smell of piss.

But these modern bus shelters, eh? As the Wurzels famously sang:

What do we need with a light?
In the dark we can manage alright,
If they had one when,
Our dads were young men,
Most of us wouldn't be here tonight.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:09 AM on May 15, 2012


The one that tells you to stop doing something is said to save £300,000 a year in repairs.

Over a thousand shelters. A regular shelter costs £1500 to £3000 (not counting the fancy model). It must cost £300 just to replace one pane of that fancy glass. In some shelters, depending on the shits who live and drink in the neighborhood, they probably lose a pane a week. Saturday night? Time to break things. Gran has to stand in the cold rain waiting for a bus the next morning? That's hilarious.
posted by pracowity at 9:22 AM on May 15, 2012


This is great news for those of us who eat substances we find in bus shelters if they resemble cake, and have thus far been disappointed, to put it mildly.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:24 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the apparent opposite of the Unst shelter.
posted by scratch at 9:59 AM on May 15, 2012


Cake or bus?
posted by maryr at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2012


wait -- the bus stop where they "did" the cake? As in, they're not doing it any more?

(This was only a 10 minute walk from my hotel! I was getting all excited!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:02 AM on May 15, 2012


and then there are the bus shelters which can tell which gender you are (mostly)
posted by Bwithh at 11:14 AM on May 15, 2012


My favourite bus shelter will forever be the Unst Bus Shelter

Which, as of 2005, can be found right by the John Peel Memorial Traffic Island.
posted by Spatch at 2:59 PM on May 15, 2012


pracowity: "Over a thousand shelters. A regular shelter costs £1500 to £3000 (not counting the fancy model). It must cost £300 just to replace one pane of that fancy glass. In some shelters, depending on the shits who live and drink in the neighborhood, they probably lose a pane a week. Saturday night? Time to break things. Gran has to stand in the cold rain waiting for a bus the next morning? That's hilarious."

Just curious about the costs of operating and updating the monitoring system. I live in New Orleans, and use the (fairly crappy) public transportation system regularly. The bus stop near me is in a fairly low-income area, and services two bus lines (so sees a lot of traffic). They recently installed a tv in the corner that shows how far away each bus is. It's been there for over a month now, and hasn't been busted, or graffitied, or damaged in any way. So the whole idea of bus stops needing to be protected is new to me, and it would be interesting to see the costs of this really interesting new program.
posted by Night_owl at 3:22 PM on May 15, 2012


I'm actually going to London in a couple weeks - I'm going to mostly be walking everywhere, but now I wanna find some of these bus shelters just to SEE them.

Bring some cider and fish and chips or you will look like a tourist.
posted by srboisvert at 11:37 AM on May 16, 2012


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