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Cozying up a bus stop?

Published onsdag 17 juli 2013 kl 15.00
The bus stop that's been getting attention in Umeå. Photo: Christina Degerström

When you think of a bus stop, maybe the first word that comes to mind is "boring", or maybe "cold" or "functional". But in the northern Swedish city of Umeå, some free spirits have taken the chill out of a bus stop, transforming it into a cozy almost-den.

Kaj Norberg is one of a handful of people who've turned this bus stop at Östra Strandgatan into what is essentially a very small living room for anyone who wants to wait for the bus in comfort.

He describes how they decorated the ordinary bus shelter, turning it into an inviting sitting room. They hung some fabric on the glass wall and installed some curtains. They laid out a little rag rug on the concrete floor. They put up posters, and covered the ordinary bench with a cushion. They also set up a little table with a boombox, some books and a vase of flowers.

Norberg tells Swedish Radio P4 Västerbotten that the point is simply to give a little encouragement to tired commuters while they wait for the bus to work. And so far, the reactions have been positive, he says.

One day, Norberg says he was sitting there waiting with a friend, when a bus stopped and the driver got out with his smart phone in hand to take a picture while blocking traffic.

Mirjam Olsson, who has also been involved with prettifying the bus stop, says they're going to look after it to make sure it doesn't get sloppy, and that they'll take it down themselves at some point, but exactly when, she cannot say yet.

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