Leader: Bus stop design wins over practicality

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tHE new bus shelters popping up in the city centre certainly look the part. The sleek design and tinted glass suggest French firm JCDecaux took inspiration from the stylish boulevards of Paris. And you don’t have to count the number of people wandering down Princes Street with eyes or ears fixed to their phones to realise how popular a bus stop charging point will be.

These shelters will be great next month when the Fringe is in full flow, especially once the touch screen information displays are online.

But what will they be like on a chilly January morning as the wind whips up Leith Walk or it is pouring with rain in Gorgie? There will be precious little shelter in these shelters then.

Waiting on a bus in the middle of a Scottish winter can be a fairly miserable experience and it is far worse when you are left almost completely open to the elements.

These bus shelters are a triumph of design over practicality.

There is plenty to admire in them. Some might scoff at the idea that you would need a phone recharging points at a bus stops – can’t they wait until they get home? – and touch screen information displays.

But this kind of tech-friendly approach is becoming increasingly common in the world’s great cities.

Visitors – and an ever more tech-savvy workforce – will increasingly expect this kind of convenience as they look to stay connected 24/7 wherever they travel, whether on holiday or on their way to and from work. Edinburgh will be left behind if it does not provide this connectivity.

But in keeping up with the times, there is no need to lose our common sense.

There is a reason we have bus shelters rather than just bus stops in Scotland.

Bus passengers will hope it is not too late to look at an adapted design as the shelters are rolled out across the Capital.