04 March 2010

Ellie and the Mystery of the Shelterless Shelters

I’ve come to a realization about the HRM Metro Transit’s Bridge Terminal. For those of you not in the know, the Bridge Terminal is a very important hub in the plague of hopelessness that is Metro Transit (MT). Any bus travelling either direction between Halifax and Dartmouth on the MacDonald bridge stops there, as well as numerous routes that don’t cross the bridge. I’d hazard a guess that it's the busiest terminal in HRM. 17 of Metro’s approximately 52 standard routes go through there. On any weekday, thousands of Haligonians will use the terminal.

My camera is dead, and the only pics I could find on the internet are courtesty of Google Street View:

My realization regards the two bus “shelters” that outfit the terminal. I realized that MT never intended to have shelters at that bus terminal.
 I believe that the structures we currently utilize as “shelters” were originally a modern art installation, speaking to humanity’s constant, and sometimes failing, struggle against the elements. Perhaps MT commissioned the work, or maybe some guerrilla artist installed them late one night after the buses stopped running (11:30pm) a là Banksy. Whatever the initial intent, people assumed they were meant to be shelters and tried desperately to use them as such. Either the artist loved the irony, or MT was so embarrassed that its attempt at high-minded culture was so horribly misconstrued, that no-one ever spoke up to correct the mistake. Now, we transit riders are left with the most ineffectual shelters known to man.

Four completely observable and self-evident truths helped me to reject the null hypothesis of deliberate bus shelters: 

1. The structures are not meant to shelter people from the cold because they are not heated. If it’s cold outside, it’s cold in the structure.

2. The structures are not meant to shelter people from rain/snow because they leak, and water enters through the doorless doorways. If it’s wet outside, it’s wet in the structure.

3. The structures are not meant to shelter people from wind because the staggered doorless doorways offer no break from the wind. If it’s windy outside, it’s windy in the structure.

4. The structures were never meant to shelter the volume of people that pass through the terminal on a daily basis. Yes, they are long, but you can only stand 3 deep, and often that 3rd person is sticking half out of a doorless doorway.

Ergo, modern art installation.

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