By John Baron & Carla Booth
Leeds City Council has apologised over work on a £495,000 scheme to revamp Bramley Bus Interchange over-running by six months – and counting.
The improvements aimed to provide a safer overall layout and improve pedestrian movement by introducing better waiting facilities and real-time travel information.
The upgrades include adding a new bus shelter on a new road built through the grass island off Town Street, and two crossings added to create safe passage to the new bus stop.
Work on the improvements was due to last until New Year’s Eve 2021 but workers were on site until February – and no work has taken place since then, leaving the site unfinished.
Bramley bus users are furious, saying what’s being left is a ‘mess’. They say:
- The real-time boards still aren’t in place.
- Poor quality asphalt has been placed on the footpaths and around new bus stands.
- A promise of a new bus stop on the former grassed island hasn’t materialised.
- And a new loading bay is being used as a car park by people using the Old Unicorn pub opposite.
Bus users’ concerns
Bus user Eileen Smith told WLD:
“It’s been four months since work stopped on the “Bramley Bus Station”. It’s been left with a patchwork of tarmac around the bus shelters and no landscaping – what an almighty mess. There are pools of water when it rains.”
Local resident Paul Downes said: “They’ve wasted their money to be honest I think. There are no displays up yet for bus times, I’m alright as I’ve got my phone but other people might not.”
Another resident, Brendan Wheelan, added: “They’ve made a mess of it, they’ve put ‘no smoking’ signs up but only one sign for the bus times at the bottom.”
Another part of the plan was to provide a segregated loading/servicing area for the shops next to the interchange. But the loading bay they have installed is often being used by cars parked for The Old Unicorn pub, leaving no space for wagons which then pull into the area intended for buses, often blocking the space.
Bus driver Ryan Geddes said: “I think they should have a thing [in the loading bay] to stop the cars parking there. Because I’ve brought the bus in a few times and the delivery wagon for the pizza place is parked [at the side of the bus stop] and as soon as you’ve parked next to the wagon to load passengers on you’ve blocked it all off.
“But apart from that it’s actually a lot better than it was, a hell of a lot better.”
Their concerns have been echoed by Councillor Kevin Ritchie (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley). He said: “I am disappointed by the delays and lack of completion. My colleagues and I are pressing West Yorkshire Combined Authority and City Connect officers to get it finished as soon as possible.”
Cllr Ritchie said the delays to the bus shelter in the island area were down to the Combined Authority, which didn’t want it operational yet due to running a reduced number of services.
A Leeds City Council spokesman apologised for the delay – but did not confirm a completion date. He said:
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these works, as it’s taken longer to complete this project than envisaged.
“The delay is due to issues about securing electricity power connections to the bus shelters. This is now being resolved and arrangements are being made to complete this work and to install real time passenger information screens.
“On completion of these final pieces of work, our team will work with contractors to rectify any defects, missing work and water ponding to ensure a satisfactory finish.”
The works were originally approved in June 2020 as part of a £7.4 million package of city-wide transport improvements run by City Connect, with work originally scheduled to start in February. But the start of work, overseen by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council, had been delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic.