Action over ‘bleak’ Yarmouth bus station

THE bleak state of Great Yarmouth’s bus station has been given top priority by borough councillors after the Mercury slammed its “appalling” appearance.

A sub-committee has been set up with four leading councillors to seek urgent improvements to the Market Gates station after a survey revealed bus passengers were unhappy with the state of the station and a lack of facilities.

Bernard Williamson, chairman of the council scrutiny committee, and other borough councillors conducted the survey among passengers at the bus station at the start of December, weeks after the Mercury’s opinion piece described it as “unwelcoming and bleak” with nowhere to shelter in cold weather and little timetable information available.

And the council’s survey results backed up the Mercury, with the majority of those questioned finding the station uninviting.

When asked how they felt about the station, the respondents described it as very cold and dirty with graffiti on the concrete pillars and a depressing 1960s concrete look.

They said they wanted warmer waiting areas, better insulated shelters, a new information centre, toilets and better lighting, as well as flowers in hanging baskets to brighten the station up.

A lack of signs was also a problem for the respondents, who were unable to find the nearest toilets and tourist attractions. Many said unless the passenger was local to the area they would not know where anything was.

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The passengers questioned were travelling from Norwich, Beccles, Acle, Gorleston, Bradwell and Yarmouth itself.

Mr Williamson said the results were a particular concern because the bus station was considered one of the main tourist “gateways” to the town alongside the rail station and feared it could put off visitors.

He added: “The survey does seem to replicate the long-standing problems that we have up there since perhaps the beginning of this bus station.

“We talked about the whole issue and decided that yes, there are issues regarding the bus station, and it is not a very appealing place to arrive in Yarmouth, and there does need to be work done to it.”

He said the council would work with the Town Centre Partnership, the shopping centre owners and the firm Adshel, which provides the bus shelters through advertising revenue, to seek ways of improving the station.

However, he warned the costs could make many improvements difficult, particularly if people hoped for digital timetable displays giving details of delays and cancellations similar to those at Norwich bus station.

But he said an alternative could be found, such as having a much clearer timetable in larger print with information on return journeys.

Other facilities that could be looked at include a heated glass shelter similar to the room at Norwich railway station.