New 'illuminated' Rīga bus stops attract derision

Scandal-wracked Rīga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme has walked into yet another public relations disaster with the unveiling of six 'modernised' tram and bus stops backfiring spectacularly.

The company used social media to announce the opening of the "new type of Rīgas satiksme staging plates with illuminated function, poles and road signs" at six stops in the center of the capital.

However, travelers who thought mention of illuminated travel information might mean digital display boards as are common in many other cities, were in for a disappointment. In fact, the "illuminated function" is a button people can press to light an LED so that they can read the paper timetables attached to the all-modern pole in an old-fashioned way. 

Photographs of the stops, which the company said were introduced "under test mode", makes them look less than cutting-edge. They strongly resemble the old stops but with a button and LED lights inside the timetables. Therefore the reaction was not overwhelmingly positive, to say the least, when the company revealed the cost of this upgrade to be 4,300 euros per stop, meaning that more than 25,000 euros has already been spent on the municipal reading lights.

As well as questioning how such a cost could be justified, whether any designers had actually been involved in the project, and whether they were easy to use for people with disabilities, several people pointed out that some of the trial stops were already in poor condition. 

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