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August 2013

Today's Transit Shelters Include Modern Trends, Traditional Looks

Jamaica, N.Y.-based Columbia Equipment Co. Inc. offers a wide range of traditional and modern shelter designs.

Jamaica, N.Y.-based Columbia Equipment Co. Inc. offers a wide range of traditional and modern shelter designs.
A new wave of modern visual trends has taken hold in the bus shelter design arena, but there’s still a demand for more traditional shelters from customers. Out with the old and in with the new doesn’t entirely apply to today’s demand for bus shelter design.

Arthur Cohen, president of Jamaica, N.Y.-based bus shelter manufacturer Columbia Equipment Co. Inc., says his company offers both styles to his customers for this reason.

“There are customers today who are looking for more contemporary designs and others who want the ‘old fashioned’ look, so we offer these and more,” Cohen says.

For example, a new and edgy shopping mall may request a modern looking bus shelter that fits in with their design, but they wouldn’t be interested in the traditional looking bus shelter because it’s not how they view themselves, he adds.

On the other end of the spectrum, a government agency may be looking for a more traditional style and basic format. Some newer designs may not fit into the environment and architectural theme of the agency.

Aside from tradition, Patrick Merrick, executive VP of Corona, Calif.-based transit shelter and street shelter manufacturer Tolar Manufacturing, says a newer idea being considered by his customers when designing a bus shelter is its branding capability. The shelter itself is being used as a marketable way to get an agency’s name out to anyone who may see the transit center.

“Agencies are looking always from the old traditional boxes and are recognizing the opportunity to use shelters as part of branding their agency,” he says.

Although trends and traditions are an important aspect when considering shelter design, an even more compelling reason one sways toward a particular style is the cost.

“Transit systems want a distinctive look for their community, but they also look at [it in terms of] maintenance costs,” Cohen explains.
Tolar spends a significant amount of time thinking of transit shelter costs for the client down the road by working toward purpose-driven designs that take into account saving money in future maintenance costs and replacement parts.

“If we can provide, through listening to the needs and expectations of our customers, a distinctive look that also incorporates a purpose-driven design, on time and on budget, which helps an agency grow their ridership, we have done our job,” Merrick says.


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