Bus stop bench unusable after street slope blunder

Lauren and daughter Jennifer Rushton at the Hanover Street bus stop. Picture Toby Williams.

Lauren and daughter Jennifer Rushton at the Hanover Street bus stop. Picture Toby Williams.

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IT’S a bench that even the tallest American basketball star would struggle to reach.

Baffled passengers have branded the seating at a new bus shelter in Hanover Street “unusable” after workmen failed to take into account the road’s slope.

Mick Farrar helps Jess, 18, and Lucy, 14, on to the seat at the Hanover Street bus stop. Picture: Toby Williams

Mick Farrar helps Jess, 18, and Lucy, 14, on to the seat at the Hanover Street bus stop. Picture: Toby Williams

The blunder comes as the News revealed last week that one in 20 of the Capital’s new bus shelters will need to have their seats replaced – because they are too high to sit on.

City chiefs admitted around 20 of the 400 shelters currently being rolled out by contractor JCDecaux would need to have their benches “retro-fitted”.

The problem is understood to have been caused by troublesome foundations preventing the shelters from being properly lowered into the ground.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, slammed the Hanover Street bus stop as “ludicrous” – and said she was in “ongoing discussions” with JCDecaux to get it fixed as soon as possible.

When the News visited the busy shelter, commuters were struggling to hoist themselves up on to the metal bench.

Jess Farrar, 18, said: “I think it’s ridiculous – the people who need a seat are the elderly and people who have children, and they won’t be able to get on.”

New Town resident Jennifer Rushton, 55, claimed the ledge was more useful as a handbag holder.

The new bus shelters are being installed as part of a multi-million-pound contract between the council and advertising giant JCDecaux, with some boasting phone chargers and touchscreen displays.

But last week pedestrian campaign group Living Streets blasted the stops for taking up too much pavement space – and charity Age Concern said they were “a cause for concern”.

Cllr Hinds said: “I find it ludicrous that the seats have been installed at this height. I have been utterly bemused that the contractors installed them when the height was so obviously going to be an issue.

“I can completely understand why residents are annoyed and am involved in ongoing discussions with JCDecaux to get them fixed.

“Where possible new bus shelters have been installed to adhere to the council’s Bus Friendly Design Guide, however, due to underground layout on certain locations like Hanover Street it has not been possible for the shelters to be put as low into the ground.

“The height issue has arisen because the seats are at a fixed height. Extension bars to allow the seats to be lowered have been manufactured this week and will be installed shortly.”

JCDecaux declined to comment.

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