Sunday, December 12, 2010

On a bus bound for nowhere...when bus users have to gamble on which bus is the one they want

Sun glare (predictably) bouncing off contoured angled upwards plastic or glass mantle

No sun direct glare flashing but still unreadable destination sign in daylight

Normally I wouldn't use an out-of-focus photo but this photo [taken only 10 seconds after the one immediately above] accents this situation. Even if you have had one too many drinks, or have a partial sight disability, you will still usually still manage to read a Designline destination, bright sun or not.

Yesterday I flagged down a bus that wasn't going where I wanted to go.
I had no choice. It was a new CBS Zhongtong with its stylish curved front and mantle above the driving window. I had to flag it down (at Westfield) because I could not read its destination sign. Indeed I could not even SEE its destination sign. In the bright New Zealand daylight where the destination should be was just a black rectangle. I had to pull the bus into the curb, have it pull to a stop beside me, just so I could read the destination sign on the side.
Ooops! I apologised to the driver, said "I'm sorry I didn't want this route but I couldn't read the sign". He sighed and shrugged his head and said, kind of resigned, "I know". Obviously I wasn't the first. '

How bizarre that someone could design a bus worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and include unreadable destination blinds!! Maybe Shanghai smog makes any light stand out, but CBS will now have to either fit a totally new backlit system or a shading mantle shaped contrary to the stylistic flow of the bus facade, which has the mantle area tilted slightly upwards.
I mean it's an attractive sensuous front of bus design - but what is the point if it is non-functional? Surely when companies across the world are paying this sort of money per vehicle, every new design should be tested in a multitude of conditions, lights, weathers, times of day, special conditions (such as snow and hail) to make sure it works 100% ? I feel for CBS (now Go Bus). Who would even think to double-check something so obvious and basic when buying a bus? The most obvious start point of a sign is that it readable.

So, yes the wabbit awards goes international !! A whole bowl of limp lettuce leaves for such a ridiculous piece of technology is awarded to Zhongtong (or who ever) for "designing" this).
A destination screen where it is not possible to read the destination? Come on mate!!


  1. Yeah the new zhongtongs are terrible, you cant even see them standing a metre away. Its made more difficult on a stop which has two or more CBS buses.

  2. As a professional in the industry I should remind you that, a product like buses are highly customizable to the customer's liking. So in this case the folks at CBS should probably be the one responsible here. They should've purchased these buses with bigger, brighter displays.

    In fact, I can't even tell if the sign was on in these photos, haha.

  3. probably they can make the board size larger and more visible.