The new Northampton bus station has struggled to cope during the first working day after its opening as queues of up to 15 buses have brought town centre traffic to a standstill.
Motorists have reported long queues of buses in Greyfriars waiting to get into the new bus station, which opened on Sunday.
Queues of up to 15 buses have formed over lunchtime in Greyfriars as buses struggle to gain access to the new station.
Vehicles were also struggling to get out of Bradshaw Street and the Grosvenor Centre car park.
On Twitter, Simon wrote: “Just taken my wife 20 mins to get out of the Grosvenor car park into the “flow” of traffic #chaos #busstation”
Northampton weather said: “Oh dear, oh dear. It looks like a bus merry go round, only not so merry.....”
Val Robinson, of AA Thornton & Co in St Catherine’s Street, said it had taken her 30 minutes to get out of Greyfriars due to the build-up of buses.
She said: “I’m livid. I missed my doctor’s appointment in Bugbrooke because it took so long to get out of the town centre.
“They are going to have to do something about this. It can’t carry on like this.”
Northampton Borough Council has tweeted that it is on site with Northampton County Council to try to get the traffic moving.
People in Northampton were given the chance to look round the new bus station during an open day on Saturday
Many people who spoke to the Chronicle & Echo appeared to have mixed feelings about the closure of Greyfriars Bus Station.
Chris Childs, marketing manager at Stagecoach East, said at just before 2pm: “Bus services are being delayed and disrupted.
“It’s a problem with the phasing of the lights at the pedestrian crossings near the new bus station. I understand the issue is not just one set of lights, its a collective problem.”
At 4.20pm he said: “We are working with the councils and the police and all I can say is that we will do our best to get buses to the right places for rush hour.”
Paul Bush, 55, of St Francis Avenue managed to board the 1pm number 31 bus from Northampton to King’s Head - but spent haf-an-hour queuing within the precinct of the bus station as buses struggled to exit onto Bradshaw Street.
“It’s an absolute farce,” he said. “It’s just not big enough for this town.
“Everybody said this would happen.
“Some people actually got off the and said we are going to walk home.”
Watching the chaos unfold, Paul Connolly, 48, of Melville Street, suggested the council considered reopening the Greyfriars bus station as an emergency measure.
He said: “It doesn’t look good does it.
“The old building had a nice natural circle - it was almost like a pit stop for the buses - at the new place they can’t manoeuvre.
“You just have to look at the expression of the people on the buses to see they are not having a good time.
Pointing at the former bus station, dubbed the ‘mouth of hell’, Mr Connolly said:”That there is a perfect piece of architecture.
“People say it’s ugly, but it was very well thought out.
“It’s still job-worthy isn’t it? It was only closed a few days ago.”
Market trader Eamonn ‘Fitzy’ Fitszpatrick said he had never seen anything like it in his 50 years working in the town centre.
He said: “Every second person is coming to the stall moaning about the traffic. It started at 9am.”
Retired Bill Gill of Rye Hill, 65, said he had walked into town to get the X7 bus to Leicester, which was half an hour late at the time.
“I’m now beginning to wonder whether I’m going to get there,” he said. “I should have taken the damned car.”
And Sarah Adams, 36, of Vernier Close, Daventry, had to queue for 35 minutes to get out of the Grosvenor Centre car park. She said: “It’s an absolute nightmare - we had come out shopping for the day and we were worried we wouldn’t make the school run in Daventry.
“I’m surprised there’s not ben an accident yet.”
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said at just after 2.30pm that College Street in the town centre has been closed to vehicles and officers are helping direct traffic. Motorists later reported that St Katherine’s Street was also closed at about 3pm.
The police spokeswoman said: “We are currently working with Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council to try and resolve the congestion in Northampton town centre.
College Street has been closed to traffic and further road closures are likely to be put in place.
“We will update with more information as soon as we can,” he added.