Northampton’s new bus station will open to the first passengers this weekend, signalling the end of Greyfriars Bus Station.
Buses will start to use North Gate Bus Station on Sunday, after an open day for the public this Saturday.
The decision to close Greyfriars Bus Station has been a controversial one. Ever since it was announced, bus users have questioned why it needed to be demolished, the cost of demolition and of building a new one, and whether the new bus station will work.
This week’s letters page of the Chron is filled with readers raising concerns and criticising the move. From Sunday, their questions will be answered.
Members of the public will get their first opportunity to look around the North Gate bus station on Saturday.
It cost £7 million to build and was funded by Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.
The authorities argue that the cost was signficantly less than refurbishing Greyfriars bus station, which they said would need £30 million.
Critics of the scheme dispute both quoted figures, saying the cost of the new development is much higher, when demolition of Greyfriars is factored in, and the cost of refurbishment much lower.
The new bus station includes a convenience store, cafe, toilets and three art installations created by local artists using Art Council England funding.
There will be three large real-time display screens; two will be located by the entrances, while a third will be located in the middle of the building.
At each of the 22 bays in the interchange, there will also be real-time display screens giving information on the next services using the bays and expected times of departure, together with a poster giving full timetable information for all of the services.
Saturday’s open day runs from 11am–2pm.
A full breakdown of how the station will operate is on the Chron’s website.