Bus Stop Gardens Bring Bees Back to Cities

Cities are installing gardens on the roofs of bus stops

Nov 9, 2022
Bus Stop Gardens Bring Bees Back to Cities | Cities are installing gardens on the roofs of bus stops

Catch the buzz. From the Netherlands to England, municipalities are recognizing the advantages of creating green spaces in unexpected places. 

It all began in Utrecht in the Netherlands when it started installing pollinator-friendly gardens on the top of bus stop shelters, according to Eco Watch.  Soon, other European cities began to follow suit.

A European phenomenon
The “bee bus stops” began in Utrecht in 2019. According to the city’s website, the municipality, together with Clear Channel, a media company that designs the bus shelters, has installed 316 sedum covered bus stop roofs. 

Now, the bee population is stabilizing due to the bee bus stops and the city has created a no roof unused policy. Every roof must have greenery or solar panels on it.

The Guardian reports that in the UK the installation of the roof gardens is the joint initiative of Clear Channel and the Wildlife Trusts, an umbrella organization of UK based wildlife conservation non-profits.

So far, the city of Leicester leads the pack with 30 bee bus stops, while other British cities such as Derby, Oxford, Glasgow, and others have fewer. Still the number of these colorful, imaginative bus shelters is set to increase by 50 percent in 2023. 

The average lifespan of the bee bus stops is estimated to be at least 20 years. Since the living roofs Are heavy, older bus stops are not designed to handle the weight. That’s why the numbers are low, as the new stops are going up only when the old ones have to be replaced.

Clear Channel has also installed garden roofs in Denmark, and Sweden, and is expected to install them in France and Belgium later in 2022. 

Vital green spaces
Green spaces within the urban environment are vital. The Guardian reports that 97 percent of Britain’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the Second World War, and this, among other things, has led to the collapse of the flying insect population in the United Kingdom. The installation of the bee bus stops hopes to counter those trends. 

Claire Rowntree, a city councilor for Sunderland – one of the UK cities involved in the project –, told Clear Channel: “We know from our Let's Talk campaign that our residents are passionate about the environment and want a greener city to live in.

“In addition to our reintroducing wildflowers across Sunderland’s parks and cemeteries, these new living roof bus shelters are another way that we are supporting the pollinators like bees and moths, which are so important for a biodiverse ecosystem but face threat due to loss of habitat.”

The bus stop gardens have benefits for humans as well. According to Eco Watch, the presence of these green spaces helps to lower the temperatures and relieve the urban heat island effect.

The bee bus stops show that saving our planet requires creativity and the ability to think out of the box. On the other hand, it also proves that sometimes small acts lead to big changes. 

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Tiki is a freelance writer, editor, and translator with a passion for writing stories. She believes in taking small actions to positively impact the world. She spends her free time reading, baking, creating art, and walking her rescue dog.