In Some Cities, Waiting for the Bus is Fun

Coloured Bar

Everybody that’s queued for a bus in a city will know the frustrations that it can bring. When you’re having to entertain children at the same time, it adds a whole other set of issues. Trying to keep energetic children occupied in what is often a busy setting with many vehicles around can be testing to say the least.

That’s why, in places such as Montreal and Utah, a new trend has sprung up and started to gain popularity; the playful urban bus stop – where waiting for the bus to show up is made fun. The local councils in these places have introduced a number of inventive elements that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. From swings and puzzles to basketball hoops and games of hopscotch, such measures have been put in place to try and unite the community and curb littering and graffiti. Here are some of the best examples of cities that have been transformed into a continuous landscape of play and adventure.


Musical bus stop swings, Montreal, Canada

21 Balançoires (21 Swings) was a project by the Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours, who were already known for their wide variety of interactive public installations and experiences. The musical swings became so popular that residents and tourists requested for even more to be installed. Pre-recorded sounds from xylophones, pianos, and other instruments are programmed into the colour-coded swings. Notes can be played when the swings are in use, and when two people are swinging in unison with careful cooperation, more complex melodies and harmonies arise. The vibrant combination of playground equipment with music is a great way to unite the community, and it provides children with a backdrop for singing, dancing and having fun.


Hopscotch rubbish bins, Lucerne Switzerland

This street game was introduced around the city of Lucerne as part of a campaign on behalf of the city council to prevent littering and motivate people to make use of the bins from an early age.  The game has been a hit amongst little ones, who actually began to get excited about putting their litter into the bin. As a way to involve adults in the playfulness of the scheme, the council also suspended basketball nets and bins from lampposts and signposts, challenging passer-by to slam-dunk their litter into them.


Learning elements, Park City, Utah

This stone abacus was set up next to a bus stop in Utah as a way for parents to keep their children entertained while waiting for the bus. Puzzles and playing panels are very beneficial for children’s mental and physical development, as well as providing fun, active play. The city council also installed sound columns and rainmakers at other bus stops, providing children with the opportunity to take part in varied sensory play wherever they are.


Exercise facilities, Japan

In an attempt to make travel more active for commuters, a local council in Japan installed exercise bikes and other fitness facilities at bus stops and park benches. Through engaging in light exercise such as this, adults can find time to keep active whilst sticking to their busy schedules. Outdoor fitness is especially beneficial for the elderly. Light exercise is the best way to work fragile joints and get the blood pumping whilst taking in some Vitamin D under the rays of the sun. The light-hearted manner of exercise facilities such as these means that older residents can get out of the house and chat with new people.