HARROW'S bus stops will be shining brightly from next month as new solar-powered lights are installed across the borough.
The technology, built for Transport for London by Trueform Engineering, uses a small canopy of panels to harness the power of the sun during the day, so that the electronic display and the "flag" bearing the bus numbers are lit at all hours of the night. The solar stops are to make their appearance in Harrow, Ealing and Hounslow at the end of October, and will then be installed at a rate of 1400 a year across London.
A Transport for London spokesman said: "Ordinary bus stops have no lights at all, but the solar stops light up automatically at dusk, which trials have showed helped to make passengers feel safer while they wait for their bus. The white light from Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) also provides downlighting for waiting passengers and timetables which light up at the press of a button."
The solar stops currently cost £2,000 each, compared to £1,100 for a normal stop. However, the technology is becoming cheaper. Tests have proved they can work even in the gloomy conditions of a British winter.
TfL's Research and Development Manager Ivan Bennett added: "It's immensely satisfying to get leading-edge technology to work in such challenging conditions. When we started looking at solar batteries that could cope with the British Winter, they tended to be the size of a filing cabinet. We've now got a unit that can sit on top of an ordinary British bus stop and provide light all year round. This is one of those projects that works well on many levels: it's an environmentally-friendly improvement which is relatively cheap to build, costs no extra to run, and will make a big difference to passengers."