Andy Riga of the Montréal Gazette reports on the STM’s new design for bus-shelters, part of the transit society’s new, and so far successful, branding and design campaign. However, each new bus stop, and the current figure is 400, will cost 14-16 thousand dollars per, with the total project costing somewhere in the area of 14 million. This project is supposed to be implemented by 2013, which means there must be a degree of modularity and/or production-line assembly if they’re to be installed so quickly. The last design cost 6-8 thousand per, though they were admittedly simpler. The new ones are to come complete with motion-sensor lighting, electronic display screens, anti-graffiti treatments and, perhaps best of all, sleek, modern design, worthy of our UNESCO City of Design status. There will be no heating installed, which makes me wonder how these bus stops are as expensive as a small car. Moreover, at prices like this, it makes me think perhaps the cost is inflated, an indication of our province and city’s never-ending problem with getting ripped off by unions, the construction industry, other levels of government, or any combination of the three.
Personally, I like the design, and the features of each stop, though for the price I would hope we’d be able to get more than 400 built. Now, if the 14 million dollar price-tag is paying for the project to be completed on-time – that is by 2013 – I’d have to grudgingly accept its probably worth it.
But that I’m suspicious of a potential inflated cost and, further, that part of the cost may simply be insurance that the project comes in on-time, reminds me that this city has a problem sustaining development. The list of stalled, delayed, and defunct projects in this city is long and growing, and it ultimately rests with the voting public to insist on self-correction. If not, the paralysis of inertia may swallow us whole.
On purely aesthetic grounds though, I have to say well-done. Not outstanding, but superior to what we currently have. Unfortunately, a bus-shelter is hardly an artistic statement, and I think the STM knows that despite the potential for an aesthetic justification of cost.