Thursday, 29 July 2021

Peeved In Peterborough (2) ...

 Where Have All The Buses Gone?

Yesterday, we explored the somewhat tortuous route from railway station to bus station; not an easy route in Peterbourough and certainly not well signposted. But when we got to the bus station, we discovered that half of it was closed.
As you can see from this Google Earth view, the whole eastern side is cloed off. Why?

In passing, note the red brick building at the northern exit from the bus station. We will meet that distinctive edifice again!

It turns out that the Queensgate shopping centre (above view far right) is being extended. When fbb first read this he feared the worst. It would not be the first time (nor the last) that a good public transport facility has been sacrificed to enhance the profits of the retail sector.

But fear not, fbb; Queensgate is not going to swallow the eastern platforms of the bus station. It is being extended UPWARDS! This is what it used to look like ...
... this is what it will look like ...
... and this is with the cranage in situ!
So the eastern platforms are needed for access, for storing things and to (hopefully) avoid dropping other things on top of Stagecoach buses! So the buses gotta go, temporarily until September 2021. Whoops, that now looks like December 2021 but might be ...

It all started in March 2020 - so maybe March 2022??

It will be a cinema, a few more shops (surprise, surprise) and a food court. 
fbb quite likes food courts as you can usually find somewhere to sit, often near the less popular "outlets".

So Queensgate'a web site tells all.

Our new £60m extension fronted by Empire Cinemas
Empire Cinemas are coming to Queensgate in 2021, as part of the new £60 million development currently underway. Alongside the 10 screen cinema there will be a number of new restaurants and stores opening, with the leading entertainment centre acting as the anchor of the development.

The kind people who are a-building also explains about the buses. (Which is a pleasant change for PR proponents; actually acknowledging that people might come a-shopping by bus - shock horror!)

Temporary closure of Queensgate Bus Station
In order to create a safe space to construct the cinema and new restaurants, which will be built on top of the existing shopping centre, bays 10a to 20 of the bus station will be temporarily closed in early 2020, and substitute bays will open 150 metres away on Acland Street. This change will affect some Stagecoach and National Express services, but the vast majority of the current bus station will remain unaffected. The temporary bus station on Acland Street will have clear signs to direct people to and from the current bus station, a safe crossing route on Westgate Road, additional CCTV and lighting as well as a weatherproof bus shelter. The disruption will last for approximately 18 months.

Still going for September 2021, then? And there is a map.
The walk route in red is shown as exiting the Royce Red car park whilst the Cavell Blue car park is marked Royce Red. The temporary bus station is shown where it isn't! Acland Street isn't marked.

Nevertheless, it all sounds relatively hunky and almost dory and may be the best that can be made of a necessarty but disruptive temporary eviction. But has it happened like that?

Alan passed through on Suinday having ridden from Northampton on a luxurious modern vehicle ...
... descibed as "very comfy" by Alan. It was an enthusiast's trip.

At the bus station, he reported that there was no information about the enforced removal until you had descended the escalators ...
... when you were told that your buses had gone! Alan suspects that there was no infromation at the railway station. 

Buses? What are they? Oh, Yes. We use them when our trains can't run!

Stagecoach also explained the happenings with an incorrect map of the walk route ...
... and (hopefully) a correct plan of the replacement stands and list of which service leaves from where.
Bay 1 looks like it may get clogged up now and then!

And, much to fbb's surprise, on-line timetables have been changed to show "Acland Street".
Of course, all of this is ONLY on-line; Alan found nothing as helpful as a printed leaflet, but, equipped with two differing and inaccurate maps, off he set to explore the facilities listed in bold in the blurb from Queensgate.

First, Crossing Westgate Street
Note the traffic light controlled crossing and the plethora of direction signs to help you find the way. NONE

So where is it? There is a sign for Acland Street but it points away from the bus station. It was partly hidden by refuse bins when Google Streetview was viewing.
By the time you can see it, you might just spot the buses!
There are
no other direction signs. When Alan began his search, the best he could come up with, as he waited for the non-existant help crossing the road, was this.
And then there are the facilities at the new temporary bus station itself.

Note the extra lighting? Note the CCTV? NONE
Correct - there isn't any. Note the shelter to protect you from the weather. BUT NOT MUCH
Dear God, please ensure the rain only falls vertically and stops falling while I am queueing to pay my fare.

Not the timetable infromation. NONE
You guessed it - the timetable frames were empty!

In fact, the only piece of information was one sticky bus stop flag applied to one end of the highly luxurious shelter.
And remember, dear reader, the ousting of a huge block of Stagecoach routes strated in March 2020.


But, all together now ...

It's All On-Line

It's called "Building Back Better!.

A More Jolly Day Out
As well as being peeved at Peterborough, Alan was at a Fenland BusFest event at Whittlesea (Whittlesey, surely?) and he sent a few pictures to show that his day was not entirely full of depression.
There was former United Counties 654 which had brought him all the way from home ...
... one of Delaine's heritage vehicles ...
... and an intersting comparison. A Leyland National ...
... versus something bigger (and better?) from today's Stagecoach.

Whittlesey does not have a bus station (SHAME), but it does have ...
... Grosvenor Road Bus Interchange. So there!

Whittlesey is a tad to the east of Peterborough ...
... and still has a railway station.

It also has a rather lovely Market Square.
Stagecoach 33 will also take you there every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday and every hour on Sundays.
But it runs to the bus station, not the bus interchange (Hmmm?) and leaves from Acland Street in Peterborough. Just follow the signs!

  Next Building Back Better blog : Friday 30th July 


  1. I live in Whittlesey and I've only ever heard of the Bus Interchange on US-based websites. It's the Bus Station.

    Bay 1 at Acland Street hosts a lot of routes but most are infrequent. However it can be a problem because some of the drivers find it tricky to reach from the bus parking area. So they pull into Bay 4 or 5 instead and the unwary (like me) have been known to miss the bus as a result.

  2.  This is a great article and your blog is also very interesting. Thank you.Street View Online