Plymouth is to give a better welcome to thousands of coach passengers in its new look station.
The first service will leave from the new station on Thursday 8 September but a ceremony to mark the opening of the new £4.85 million facility has taken place today.
The new coach station will have seven bays, real time passenger information screens, sail like steel canopies to provide shelter, toilets, a staffed ticket office, ticket vending machines, cycle stand, CCTV, a customer help point and a café concession.
National Express, the biggest coach operator in the country, will run the station which is expected to see over 50 departures a day. Around half of them will be scheduled National Express services, with the remaining scheduled services run by Megabus and SW Falcon.
Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “These are smart, modern facilities that provide a much more fitting welcome to Britain’s Ocean City. This heralds a new era for the travelling public and the city centre.
“In the West End we have this great new facility, which I hope will see more people through the doors of nearby businesses, while over at Bretonside, we’re getting ready for an exciting new leisure complex that will keep people coming back to Plymouth for more.
He added: “It’s really exciting to see large, successful companies make such major commitment to Plymouth.”
Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery said: “This will make coach journeys to and from Plymouth a much nicer experience. Bretonside was looking rather tired and unloved so these new facilities represent a great investment in Plymouth, in the city centre and in the people who use the services.
“I’d also like to thank the businesses who have been very patient with us all while the work has been progressing.”
National Express Service Delivery Director Kevin Gale said: “We’ve been watching with interest developments in Plymouth and think it is somewhere that is really going places.
“Plymouth is a key hub for us and we our team is really looking forward to welcoming travellers in the new coach station.”
Contractor SWH Civils was appointed to build the project while another arm of the company, SWH Build, is converting the former Lloyds Bank building into a ticket office.
Hannah Jones, Contracts Manager for SWH Civils said: “It has been a complex project, but we are pleased with the results. We are a regional contractor working solely in the south west and it has been a pleasure to play such a vital role in creating this important piece of transport infrastructure. It’s not just good news for Plymouth, it’s good news for the region.”
British Land contributed £2.1 million as part of development contribution of the 1960s Bretonside bus station which will close shortly to enable a £42 million leisure complex to be built.
New arrangements are being made for visitor coaches dropping off day trippers in the city centre and on the Barbican, with dedicated pick up and drop off points and waiting shelters being created at Derry’s Cross roundabout.
Operators can also drop off visitors at the existing stop on the Barbican at the junction of Lambhay Hill beneath the Citadel. Improvements for this site are planned.
Detail about the build:
Construction began in January this year
Two giant canopies made of steel are over 5.5 metres high provide shelter for passengers
The outside waiting area has been finished off with granite, including staircase and ramp to a pedestrian opening into Cornwall Street
10,000 tonnes of imported stone were used
1500 square metres of concrete have been poured into the concourse
550 tonnes of granite have laid beneath the canopy
2 miles of cables have been laid
The coach area spans seven lanes which have been created in a chessboard style. Your eyes do not deceive you – it slopes slightly to allow for drainage
There is an electronic barrier so that there will be no access for other vehicles