And so like Cinderella trying to make it home before midnight, the new bus station (that isn’t really a bus station) opened on the chimes of twelve on Saturday night.
Actually that’s not quite true – no busses were running at the time, but you get the drift.
Come the morning after the night before, and a new dawn has broken, has it not?
Um, not really.
The old temporary bus station outside @firstsite was looking an even sorrier sight with makeshift railings containing the busses within. Just down St Botolph’s and up Osborne Street and the new bus station (that isn’t really a bus station) was glistening in the late autumnal Sunny Colch sun.
Shame that some young fella still tired and emotional from the night before decided to decorate the pavement outside with the remnants of a half warm kebab.
That’s the Cultural Quarter for you, Comrades.
And so £2m in the making and a fancy new bus stop appears to be the legacy of all of this bus station folly. What the chuffers is going on?
Blame firstsite – everyone else does in this town…
The green light for the Golden Goose back in the day essentially signaled the end of the old bus station. Here Be the Cultural Quarter [really?] – a bus station isn’t conceived to be the high point of Colchester culture (although speak to Sir Bob, who still bangs on about the bonkers idea of Britain’s First Art Gallery Bus Station.)
A joint project between our friends from Highways at Essex County Council, with plenty of input from Colchester Borough Council, the new bus station (that isn’t a bus station) has had the Town Hall spin splattered all over the Emperor’s New Clothes of a bus stand:
“The new high-quality bus station for Colchester Town Centre will be opening on Sunday 18th November. The existing temporary bus station will be closing at midnight on Saturday 17th November. The new facility, which will be on Osborne Street and Stanwell Street, is part of Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council’s work to improve bus travel and passenger facilities throughout the town.”
Sunday saw the soft opening of the site. There was no grand ribbon cutting ceremony to remember such a momentous occasion with; political suicide awaits any hapless hyperlocal politician that is mad enough to endorse this mother of all compromises.
But when is a new bus station (that isn’t a bus station) actually a bus station?
The corporate bumph from CBC talks of “relocating” the old bus station, suggesting that the Osborne Street set up is actually a bus station, and not the world’s most expensive bus stop.
Some high tech timetables are in place to help the confused. The ‘Information pods’ [URGH] appeared to confuse the confused slightly more on Sunday morning. The mapping system doesn’t list the locations in alphabetical order. It’s like playing a game of Pin the Tail on the Back End of a Bus (a party favourite of The Chronic, back in our wilder youthful days…)
The QR codes are a nice addition, but the poor old dear trying to head out to Old Heath on Sunday morning sadly wasn’t in possession of a smart phone. She also wasn’t in possession of a 20p piece, a must have if you want to… spend a penny at the new bus station (bus drivers included.)
Upgraded bus stops are also now in place along both Queen Street and St John’s Street. This suggests that the new bus station (that isn’t really a bus station) is actually just a series of new bus stops – and a series of very expensive ones at that.
Ahh, but the proof of any bus station / stop in in the pudding. Was it a light, fresh, crème brulee for Sunny Colch on Sunday morning, or being bogged down in some particularly sticky toffee pudding?
Perhaps somewhere in between.
There wasn’t exactly a great deal of commuters come the rock ‘n’ roll hour of 9am. The real test will come on the last Saturday before Christmas.
Bus why does a bus station even matter?
Put simply, it is the gateway to the town. It is the place where any visitors first see of Sunny Colch, and a location where first impressions are made.
The original old bus station was much loved, Bibby’s, the waiting room et al. But it was left to rot. Firstsite and the Cultural Quarter regeneration was just far too convenient a reason as to not invest further in the old girl.
Out with the old, in with the new and bugger off to Osborne Street and a fancy bus stand.
It will be interesting to observe over the coming months if Osborne Street now becomes the gateway to Sunny Colch.
Will the area start to self-regenerate?
There are currently a number of vacant commercial units. Expect these to find new businesses on the back of the bus station boom as we enter 2013.
Which begs the question – wouldn’t a brand new bus station in the firstsite back garden have been sufficient enough to kick start the Cultural Quarter regeneration.
Blimey – we’re starting to sound like Sir Bob of Sunny Now.
Time to leg it for the last bus back. You’ll turn into a pumpkin, dontchaknow.