Another batch of 82 GO GEORGE bus shelters is currently being manufactured and will gradually be erected at bus stops over the next few months, starting this week. Added to the 30 shelters of the first phase of permanent shelter construction, these will provide protection from the elements to a large percentage of passengers.
As the colourful and sturdy shelters pop up over town, few people understand the preparation behind the (iron) curtains, and the precision with which this engineering project is being executed.
The bus stops getting permanent shelters were selected according to the types of buses stopping there (sprinters or larger buses), the number of routes using the stop, frequency of trips, proximity to shops and places of interest and employment, the type of bus stop (kerb or road side) and the physical condition of the road and pavement.
Due to the unique location of each bus stop, an assessment is done prior to the final placement of the structure. To determine the ideal placement of the structure, the existing infrastructure and available sidewalk are carefully assessed, as well as best sight lines for oncoming buses and traffic, safety of passengers, and ease of movement for persons with special needs to enter and exit the vehicle. Before the installation of the shelters, a concrete foundation is cast, sidewalks might be upgraded where feasible and other infrastructure such as telephone and electrical cables moved.
Sometimes, a particular bus stop necessitates creative execution, like the Union A stop in York Street that was installed with its back to the street because of existing infrastructure under the surface, and pedestrian walkways that had to be considered.
The bus shelter itself is a durable, low-maintenance structure made from galvanised steel, designed in a modular fashion to allow for additional extensions. Over time, certain shelters will be expanded and others improved with additional facilities as required. At the same time, the design allows for separate components to be replaced in the case of damage, without the need to replace the entire structure.
The local engineering company contracted to build the shelters turn out five complete shelters per week. They manufacture the structures from scratch, starting out with the raw steel components. On the factory floor, seven work stations each build a different component. Before assembling all the components in the bus shelter jig, the parts are pre-fitted in a mock-up station to ensure that everything fits together perfectly.
Once finished, a shelter is loaded onto a truck by a forklift, to be delivered at is site and secured on its foundation by means of industrial nuts and bolts.