Yeah, I really don't get this forced interaction thing. I have a feeling it's a generational idea, in that people think Millennials don't talk or interact enough so fuck it all, we'll make the seats face each other.
It's BS really. You see old-timey pictures of a train or a bus and people are reading the newspaper and no one gave a shit.
My experiences with public transportation, both in the US and Japan, have been that I've seen a much higher than usual number of highly mentally ill people in public transportation than anywhere else, and often fairly aggressively mentally ill. With that in mind I'd rather not be in this type of seating arrangement with them.
There are already British bus designs with seats facing each other (to fit more in around the rear wheel wells), and they work perfectly fine. The horseshoe shape just seem... less efficient. Five normal bus seats could fit across the back of the bus in the OP, but I don't see how more than four people would sit in the horseshoe without bumping legs.
These have been a thing forever, no?
That's basically how the backs of all public transportation busses I've been using for the past 20+ years have been...
EDIT: For what it's worth, I'm in the Northeast US / New England.
And from the sounds of it, it's continuing to just be the seats at the back, and will have no impact on the rest of the bus.
Good intentions, but no. Buses are not a place where people want to get to know each other. People that ride buses typically wish they weren't riding buses. That's just society.
Also Atlanta MARTA buses already have seats in the back pretty much in this fashion, although they are still divided. Doesn't make anyone want to talk to each other any more at all, and the non-divided sections are going to just going to add an issue of people potentially getting pissed about leg space.
Depending on where you live it's not really anything new. Plenty of buses (at least where I live) have seats faced against each other to encourage conversation. An absolutely horrible idea, don't wanna talk while taking the bus. But I guess most buses are designed by people that never take the bus daily.
From the thread, yes, but not so much from the OP.
Anyway, apologies, I'll go back and edit.
My secondary point, though, was that on the transportation I had been riding where seats were like this, I seriously doubt they were done for "social/conversational" purposes (especially since "smartphones" weren't really a thing for most of the time I was on them). Obviously these are since they're saying they are, but there are other reasons for having the back seat like this as well, since it was something I had commonly seen.