Bus Stations Don't Have to Be Second-Rate, as This One in Tilburg Demonstrates

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©. architectenbureau cepezed via V2com

Cepezed Architects design a bus station that is elegant and self-sufficient.

Margaret Thatcher probably never said, "A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure." But she might have, as many people consider buses second-rate transportation for second-rate people. Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog has complained that in the USA, they will spend a billion bucks on a single highway interchange but leave poor people and seniors out in the rain. She calculates the country could put a shelter over every single bus stop in America "for far less than the cost of a single highway project in Texas. The problem of bad bus stops is not about money. It’s about the status and class of users and our perverse and outdated federal transportation spending formulas."

end of bus depot Tilburg

© architectenbureau cepezed via V2comWhen we look at transportation in Europe, we go gaga over the trains and trams, but they are no slouches with buses either. There is nothing second rate about the way they treat their passengers. I had never heard of Tilburg, the sixth largest city in the Netherlands with half a million people in the entire metro region, but look at its bus depot, designed by Cepezed.

bus station in tilburg with bus

© architectenbureau cepezed via V2com

The basic setup consists of a series of very thin columns with an evenly minimalistic awning structure on top of them. The construction forms a triangular circuit with a length of over 160 meters (524') and an open space in the centre. The bus positions are arranged around the outer side; six for boarding and one for deboarding.

bus depot in tilburg

© Architectenbureau cepezed via V2com

The awning covers the total platform and part of the bus so that getting on and off is totally sheltered.

detail of roof

© architectenbureau cepezed via V2com

The structure consists of a steel framework covered with ETFE-foil. The lighting is fitted above this foil. During the day, the awning filters the sunlight, while during the dark hours, it becomes one large and spacious lighting element that strongly adds to the travellers’ feeling of safety. 250 m2 of solar panels lie atop of the awning. The panels supply sufficient energy for all functionalities of the bus station, including the lighting of the awning, the digital information signs, the staff canteen and the public transport service point.

people walking in bus depot tilburg

© architectenbureau cepezed via V2com

Really, there is no reason that a bus shelter should get any less consideration than an airport or a train station, even in the USA. Just look at Tilburg.