North Gate bus station
Front entrance of the bus station
|Location||Bradshaw Street, Northampton, NN1 2HL
|Bus operators||Stagecoach, Uno|
|Connections||Northampton railway station (885 metres)|
|Opened||2 March 2014|
The building opened on 2 March 2014 on the site of the town's former Fishmarket. The new station was built to replace the previous Greyfriars bus station which dated from 1976, to allow expansion on that site.
Located on Bradshaw Street, the station is close to the Market Square, and other town centre attractions and facilities. The Northampton railway station is approximately 0.9 km away.
The station consists of 14 departure bays — 12 on its western side and 2 on its southern side — served from the main concourse building, which contains ticketing facilities, toilets, a café and shops. A further 8 bays for south-bound journeys out of the town are located on the Drapery.
The majority of bus services continue to be operated by Stagecoach. Uno is a smaller operator who also use the facility. National Express and other coach services run from Victoria Street, just north of the station where there are no facilities.
On the first working day of operation unprecedented traffic congestion occurred causing gridlock for several hours. Emergency work to mark surrounding junctions and erect temporary pedestrian barriers was carried out to try to ease the problems. Later access to College Street was restricted and access to the Park Inn Hotel altered. Similar incidents, though less severe have occurred since. Users have complained about the capacity of the station building and the open bus shelters on The Drapery. This is particularly an issue during poor weather, passengers with limited mobility and those changing between services.
Planning Permission for the £7 million project to create a new bus interchange in Northampton was granted in August 2012. Demolition work started in December 2012 to remove the old former Fishmarket building so work could start on the new modern bus interchange. The Fishmarket was completely demolished by March 2013.
In May 2013, the framework of the new station started to be erected. In June 2013, work began on improving the streets around the new station with new paving slabs, bus shelters and road surfaces. New traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing linking the bus station with the Market Square were also installed. A topping-out ceremony was held on 17 September 2013.
Artwork telling the history of Northampton and the site was put up in the station in early February 2014. An open day was held on 1 March 2014 ahead of its official opening the day after on 2 March.
Substantial difficulties were experienced on the first full day of operations. Traffic passing through Northampton town centre saw delays of over an hour with many bus services being cancelled. Northamptonshire Police were forced to close off some roads in the town centre to allow buses only. A sudden increase in traffic around the station was blamed, along with the phasing of pedestrian lights, bus driver training and private vehicles using the Drapery illegally (the Drapery is only open to buses, taxis and unloading vehicles), according to the authorities. Emergency measures including a new box junction and temporary pedestrian barriers were put in place overnight to stop the same problem from happening the following day.
Within November and December of 2015 repeated gridlock has occurred during evening rush hour nine times in the past seven weeks, with delays of beyond an hour to many services
Stagecoach serves areas within the town and also provides travel to outlying villages and towns within the county, making links to Corby, Daventry, Kettering, Rushden and Wellingborough. They also go as far afield as Bedford, Bicester, Leicester, Market Harborough, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Rugby.
The new bus station has various facilities:
- Travel Centre
- Spar Express shop
- Colomiano Coffee House café
- "Traffic chaos on first working day of new North Gate station in Northampton - Northampton Chronicle and Echo". Northampton Chronicle & Echo. Retrieved 3 March 2014.