St. Paul's Bus Station, Walsall
|St Paul's Bus Station|
Outside Walsall bus station in 2008
|Location||Walsall, West Midlands, England|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Allford Hall Monaghan Morris|
|Structural engineer||Atelier One|
|Services engineer||Atelier Ten|
|Civil engineer||Clark Smith Partnership|
|Other designers||Watkins Dally|
|Quantity surveyor||Appleyard & Trew|
|Main contractor||Shepherd Construction Ltd|
St Paul's Bus Station is one of two bus stations located in the town of Walsall in the West Midlands, England. The station is managed by Transport for West Midlands, and is the terminus for over 85 bus routes (some services are station-bound only), operated by eight registered bus companies (these are National Express West Midlands, Central Buses, Thandi companies (t/a Thandi Buses, Midland Bus Company, Corporate Express & Finesse Coaches), Rotala (t/a Central Connect and Diamond Bus, Choice Travel which now all operate under Diamond Bus), Walsall Community Transport & Arriva Midlands).
St Paul's Bus Station is dominated by an elliptical roof standing on twelve steel columns. The concrete roof covers an area of 3,171 m2 (34,132 sq ft), beneath which are three bus islands, consisting of a total of eleven bus stands. A smaller aerofoil covers a further three stands. 2.4 metres (8 ft) tall glass screens shelter pedestrians from bus fumes and provide information on bus routes. At each of the bus stands is hardwood bench set within a low concrete wall. The benches were designed to be vandal-proof. At its longest point, the canopy is 80 metres (262 ft) in length and 45 metres (148 ft) wide at its widest point. The roof is covered in ten circular holes with hoods to deflect the wind. There are seventeen similar rooflights in the canopy. The concourse area is two storeys tall and consists of large concrete walls, supporting the columns for the canopy roof. The bus station covers a total area of 9,470 m2 (101,934 sq ft).
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris designed the building for Centro. The structural engineers were Atelier One, Shepherd Construction Ltd were the contractors, Watkins Dally were the landscape architects and Clark Smith Partnership were the civil engineers. The project cost £6.5 million.
A small satellite section was added to the bus station in 2001.
Despite the extensive profile, there have been calls for it to be demolished. Most notably, Walsall South MP Bruce George said that Centro should consider replacing the bus station due to the complexity of the layout. Bus drivers have complained that there were too many bends and that it quickly became overcrowded, which may have contributed to two incidents at the bus station, in one of which a local woman died.
In December 2008, the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive decided to merge Stands K & L in the main bus station. This resulted in an extra stand being added to the row housing the Travel & Tourist Information Shop, with one being removed in the middle row. No Stand Alterations were caused by this stand, as no extra stands were created, just rearranged. Two years later in December 2010, the station reverted to its old layout.
In July 2011 the nearby Bradford Place station and the toilets in the main station underwent an extensive refurbishment. Both re-opened during early September 2011.
On 9 July 2007, a 66-year-old woman from the Bentley area of Walsall died, and several others were injured, when an Arriva Midlands service 360 to Aldridge went the wrong way up the bus stations one way system, crashing into several pedestrians and other vehicles (which should not have been in the bus station area) before finally being stopped by a National Express West Midlands 51 service double decker to Birmingham. The bus was deliberately driven into the Arriva bus by the female driver to stop its progress. The 62-year-old driver, named as John Connolly, from Burntwood, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving. In February 2009, after a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, lasting one week, Mr Connolly was cleared of the charge, an outcome that was welcomed by the police.
On 20 February 2008, an Arriva Midlands service crashed into the back of a Thandi Bus on service 346 causing it to shunt forward. This caused two elderly women to be crushed by the bus, one underneath, the other against the glass pane of a shelter. Both were seriously injured. The Arriva driver was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and was released on bail. In July 2008 the driver, Peter Love, appeared in court charged with driving without due care and attention, where he was banned from driving for six months. It was also revealed Arriva Midlands had sacked him.
Both incidents caused the bus station to be shut for several hours, which caused travel disruption in the town centre.
A minor incident occurred on 7 June 2010, this time between a National Express West Midlands bus and a Diamond Bus vehicle both on the 31 service to Mossley. Nobody was seriously injured, and no damage was caused to the station, yet the incident once again prompted calls for the station to be demolished or altered, before another serious incident happened.
On 28 February 2011, a suspect package found outside the neighbouring job centre caused the bus station to be evacuated and closed from 1pm through until 7.30pm after the Bomb Disposal Squad had declared the package safe. This caused disruption to the bus station, and the wider town centre.
Exactly one week later on 7 March 2011, a collision occurred on the approach to the station, involving two National Express West Midlands buses and two cars, neither of which should have been in the vicinity. Although officially on the highway and despite there being no injuries, this again prompted calls for better policing of the interchange or a change of layout.
- "St Paul's Bus Station Description". CABE. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- "St Paul's Bus Station Project team". CABE. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
- Fiona Rattray (2 July 2000). "The AMOLAD Bus Station #2". The Powell & Pressburger Pages. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
- "Get on Board: An agenda for improving personal security - Case studies". Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
- "Plea over bus station rebuild". Express & Star. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
- "One dead after bus station crash". BBC News. 9 July 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
- "Two trapped after buses collide". BBC News. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
- "Man arrested after buses collide". BBC News. 27 February 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.