Saturday, 27 March 2010

Worst Bus Station?

NO ENTRY for pedestrians
Notice : this is PRIVATE PROPERTY
Pedestrians must ONLY leave by the entrance under the archway
Keep Off
Fragile Roof
Welcome to Winchester bus station

Which notice does not appear near to the cafe and enquiry office at the (mainly) Stagecoach bus station?   

Winchester is an historic city visited by many tourists from all over the world. The bus station is (probably) pre-war and is, in effect, the forecourt of  the Stagecoach depot.It offers a cafe, an enquiry office and a series of stands with limited cover for waiting passengers. When I was there the rain blew in! Buses enter through the garage and exit under an impressive archway from which the lettering has been removed (or fallen off) leaving a slightly darker "Winchester Bus Station" on faded National Bus Company "poppy red".

Passengers enter and exit by way of narrow walkways on both sides of the arch.

The whole bus station is, erm... "tired" - depressingly tatty would be a better description.   The cafe is popular (although I could find no list of opening times) but did not have what you might call a "quality ambience"; more "greasy spoon" than welcoming refreshment facility!   I could find no toilets - these have to be sought at various locations in the City.

Service 5, it tells me, leaves from the Broadway ...
... but fails to tell me where that is. I am supposed to know. There is a very small map of the centre of Winchester, guiding visitors to the various tourist sites; a map which can only be read by a passenger in an attitude of prayer on his knees - in a puddle.

The enquiry office is only open Monday to Friday from 0900 to 1700 on one notice, and pinned immediately below it alternative hours from 0900 to 1245 then 1315 to 1730.

Helpfully we are told (three times?) that there are NO left luggage facilites. A rather amateur but welcome display shows National Express services and reminds us that tickets can be bought here; but, of course, not on Saturday or Sunday and possibly not between 1245 and 1315 - maybe...

To complete the overall service to the paying public there is a rack of Stagecoach leaflets;but not a mention of Blue Star's trunk routes or any guidance as to the small number of "other operators" which can be found nearby but not in the bus station.

Here a view down The Broadway; distinguished City Hall on the right, historic statue of King Alfred in the far distance with tired bus station left and alongside His Majesty, a secret service 5.
Now, before anyone sends a correction, fbb isw aware that the bus station is "awaiting re-development". But when? The present facility has been tatty for years.

How NOT to attract new customers away from their cars and into the bus.

This blog has been upgraded and amended from June 2011 


  1. I know it's in France but Nice Gare Routiere is pretty dingy

  2. The best ride I've done is on the Isle of Wight. we went on the open top 42 to The Needles; the driver was a 'character' and continually interrupted the recorded commentary with pearls of wisdom of his own. On the way up to the Needles Battery we were invited to look right (i.e. towards the Solent) to be told, "and at the bottom of the cliff you'll see the wreckage of the last bus that came up here"!! On the way down he decided that "I don't want to live anymore!!" and took the hairpin bends at an unnaturally high speed even for a good old Bristol VR. Still talk about it to friends today - and that was over 5 years ago!