Newport (Isle of Wight) bus station
|Newport Bus Station|
|Local authority||Isle of Wight|
|Managed by||Southern Vectis|
|No. of stands||5|
Newport bus station, on the Isle of Wight is located at Orchard Street in Newport town centre. Recent redevelopment has seen the former 1960s-built South Street bus station demolished, to make way for a new row of shops, and the current facility built behind that site. Newport is used as the hub of Southern Vectis's network of bus routes, so the majority of routes use Newport bus station, currently 11 out of 14. On 1 July 2007 the bus station became a no smoking area in its entirety.
From April 2011, the bus station travel office has accommodated a 'Visitor Information' point, to serve as a replacement for the Tourist Information Centres, which were closed by the Isle of Wight Council to save money as a result of funding reductions from central government.
There is a network of bus lanes through Newport town centre which lead to the bus station, with the aim of speeding a bus's passage into the bus station. They are located on St James' Street and South Street, and go against the direction of flow of these otherwise one-way streets. For the rebuilding of the bus station a temporary bus lane was placed along Church Litten; this was taken out of use and resurfaced to allow regular traffic to use it once the new bus station opened.
Prior to redevelopment, Newport bus station was built in the 1960s facing South Street where the current shopping centre is located. For buses entering the bus station, they turned straight off South Street, and parked at one of the stands in the bus station. Buses leaving the bus station left at an exit next to Inland Revenue offices on the other side of the bus station. Prior to bus lanes being put in, all buses followed the east to west flow of traffic along this section of South Street. At the front of the bus station was an area for bus parking. Towards the back were stands for Island Explorer and Route Rouge routes. There were other stands in the middle for Newport Town services such as routes 38 and 39. Another stand was located at the back near the Inland Revenue offices, now occupied by a Next store. Shops opened out under these offices onto the bus station, one of which was the Southern Vectis travel office. Stands at the back of the bus station were covered by an overhang, rather than freestanding shelters.
Competition refused access
As the bus station was bought along with Southern Vectis in 1986 from the National Bus Company by management, the station is owned and maintained by Southern Vectis. This was subject to controversy from the first week of bus deregulation, as the company refused to allow any of their upstart competitors, Island Travel and Gange's Minicoaches, into the station. These companies were forced to use a bus stop outside the station, which they claimed were obscured by parked double deckers.
Southern Vectis' refusal to allow Gange's Minicoaches to use Newport bus station prompted an investigation in 1987 by the Office of Fair Trading. The first time the deregulated bus industry had come under investigation from the OFT. The OFT report, published in 1988, found Southern Vectis' behaviour to be anti-competitive, preventing smaller bus operators from establishing awareness and competing effectively. Southern Vectis was presented with an ultimatum following the report, either allow competitors to use the bus station, or face the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The company decided that the former was preferable, and instated a programme by which competitors could use their station. At the time, Southern Vectis' relatively small competitors would have to pay an annual licence fee, insurance, and provide their timetables to Southern Vectis for the next 6 months, in return for the right to use and post timetables at appropriate stands in the station. The precedent was set, preventing privately owned bus stations from restricting access to competitors. However these terms were never agreed to by Gange's Minicoaches.
As part of the 2005 bus station redevelopment, Stand F is on the public highway, so is technically free for any operator to use without having to pay Southern Vectis. Whilst in operation, this facility was used by Wightbus for all its services which stopped in the station.
The plans for redevelopment were first revealed in September 2003 for 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of retail space to be created on the old bus station site. Plans were finally approved almost a year later in July 2004. The approved plans were slightly different to those originally lodged, with only 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of retail space and a reduced number of shops.
Redevelopment started from the old bus station from summer 2005. During this time a temporary bus lane was set up alongside Church Litten with bus shelters erected in South Street Car Park. Buses set down in the bus lane, and stopped to pick up passengers at one of the three bus stands in Church Litten, lettered A, B or C.
The exception to this was that almost all buses from Hunnyhill used a stop in the South Street bus lane, opposite the old bus station. At the point the redevelopment work began, this meant services 2, 2B, 3, 3A and 3B towards Sandown Bay or Ventnor. Services 21 and 24 also used this stop so that all buses to Sandown Bay left from the same place. After the network revision of 1 April 2006, only route 1 to and from Cowes used this stop, all other routes serving the stands in Church Litten. This was partly due to this route's high frequency (every 7–8 minutes at the time), and also because Newport was now the end of the route, and buses could layover at the stand before continuing back to Cowes. Its redevelopment has been pictured. The work was completed in July 2006, when the new bus station was opened.
Today, the bus station is situated in a slightly different place. The new shopping centre is built over part of where the old bus station was, and the new bus station has been constructed on the site of some old buildings and offices to the rear.
To enter the bus station, buses first turn off South Street, passing the side of the shopping centre. They are then on Orchard Street, which the bus station is situated off. As a bus approaches the bus station, stand F is on the left of it. This is on the public road beside the library. Stand F served all former Wightbus routes.
The main bus station is perpendicularly to the right of this. Closest to the shopping centre is a lane for delivery vehicles. Facing as though you have just turned in, left of that is the bus parking area, and to the left of that is Stand E, serving route 1 to Cowes. Beside that is a lane for through buses, and then Stand C, for routes 5, 7 and 38 (all on the right hand side of each other in the diagram). To enter any of these, the bus has to turn right off Orchard Street. All that has been described so far in this paragraph is facing in the same direction (down in diagram). In front of Stand C is the waiting room and enquiries office. In front of stand C and the bus parking area is stand B, for route 9, which is perpendicular to these stands. Route 9 buses on their stand face the exit of the bus station, in the opposite direction to the way buses enter the bus station.
Facing the same way as a route 9 bus, ahead of Stand B is Stand A, which has a large undercover waiting area rather than just shelters, due to overhanging buildings. There is space for two buses here, and other buses exiting the bus station pass on the right. In front of this is again South Street, meaning all buses come out of the bus station facing the opposite direction to which they entered. The exit of the bus station has a box junction to keep clear the bus lane from queueing traffic, and then buses have left the area.
The bus station is now considered to be too small, having been designed for less buses to use than the Go-Ahead owned Southern Vectis now runs. Buses frequently have to drop off in outside the library (in stand F or in the road), and pick up away from stands due to other buses. Buses also regularly block others from getting past.
In April 2011, following the closure of tourist information centres across the island by the Isle of Wight Council, Southern Vectis agreed to launch a new visitor information service in the main island towns. The waiting room of the bus station was refurbished to accommodate the new services. The new service was aimed at providing a replacement only for the role of providing information on tourist and travel details, as opposed to the selling of local souvenirs and event tickets which the previous tourist information centres had done.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Newport (Isle of Wight) bus station.|
- "Isle of Wight County Press – "Bus lane goes but one-way stays"". www.iwcp.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
- The Director General of Fair Trading (1988). The Southern Vectis Omnibus Company Limited: Refusal to allow access to Newport Bus Station, Isle of Wight (Report). Office of Fair Trading.
- "Vectis forced to share", Commercial Motor 168 (4620), 26 Feb – 2 March 1988: 13
- Bishop, Matthew; John Anderson Kay, Colin P. Mayer (1995). The Regulatory Challenge. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-877342-0.
- Hern, R (2003). "Competition and access pricing in the UK water industry". Utilities Policy (Elsevier) 10 (3–4): 117–127. doi:10.1016/S0957-1787(02)00032-2.
- National Economic Research Associates (December 1997). "The Effectiveness of Undertakings in the Bus Industry". OFT. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- "Isle of Wight County Press – "Shopping mall at bus station site"". www.iwcp.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
- "Isle of Wight County Press – "Yes to bus station plan"". www.iwcp.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
- "Redevelopment of Newport Bus Station gets underway" (PDF). Southern Vectis Omnibus Company. July 2005. Archived from the original on 10 July 2005. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
- Newport Bus Station redevelopment pictured on Flickr Accessed 8 June 2008
- "New services take over from TICs". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- "Bus firm set to launch new tourist info service". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 22 February 2012.