Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bus Bulbs

Snapping Together a Better Bus Stop

Bus bulbs and their cousin, the bus island, speed up transit service by positioning the boarding area right next to the travel lane. Buses don't have to pull in and out of traffic, which saves 5 to 20 seconds per stop, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. That can add up to significant time savings over a whole route.

Some cities aren't waiting to build out bus bulbs in concrete. To get these improvements done faster, they're using inexpensive snap-in-place plastic platforms made by the Spanish company Zicla.

New York, Pittsburgh, and now Oakland have all experimented with the Zicla product as a way to accelerate implementation of bus bulbs.

In Oakland, the city added the bus islands along the protected bike lane on Telegraph Avenue to reduce conflicts between cyclists and buses. Without the bus island, cyclists would have to weave around buses during the boarding process.

Instead of spending days or weeks to dig up the street and pour concrete, the modular bus islands take hours to install. "It’s just radically cheaper, you can put it down in a day," said Orcutt. "The unit that you see in the picture from Oakland is about $20,000."

The Zicla product is ADA-compliant, with a low rise where the bulb meets the sidewalk. As you can see, for the bus island version on Telegraph Avenue, the bulb connects to the sidewalk with a walkway that cyclists ride over via short ramps.

Oakland officials are evaluating the plastic bus islands on Telegraph with an eye toward more widespread implementation "because they’re cheaper and faster to install than concrete," according to a post by the city on Medium.

Pittsburgh is also using the Zicla product to speed up bus service on Liberty Avenue, a downtown street where a number of bus routes converge. The platforms are part of an 18-month pilot project.

pittsburgh bus bulb
Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh. Photo: Zicla
false

New York City uses them on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn. After the platforms successfully weathered the winter, the city elected to leave them in place past the trial period, Orcutt says.

Photo: TransitCenter
Utica Avenue. Photo: TransitCenter
false

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Gotcha-Heimer! Anti-Congestion Pricing Jersey Rep. With a City Speeding Ticket Drove to Manhattan on Wednesday

New Jersey's most vociferous opponent of congestion pricing parked illegally and once got a speeding ticket.

April 24, 2024

Under Threat of Federal Suit (Again!), City Hall Promises Action on ‘Unacceptable’ Illegal Police Parking

A deputy mayor made a flat-out promise to eliminate illegal police parking that violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. But when? How? We don't know.

April 24, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Four for Fifth Edition

The good news? There's a new operator for the Fifth Avenue open street. The bad news? It's four blocks, down from 15 last year. Plus other news.

April 24, 2024

MTA Plan to Run Brooklyn-Queens Train on City Streets a ‘Grave’ Mistake: Advocates

A 515-foot tunnel beneath All Faiths Cemetery would slightly increase the cost of the project in exchange for "enormous" service benefits, a new report argues.

April 24, 2024

Full Court Press by Mayor for Congestion Pricing Foe Randy Mastro

Pay no attention to that lawyer behind the curtain fighting for New Jersey, the mayor's team said on Tuesday, channeling the Wizard of Oz.

See all posts