Community bus station plan needs to be clear

PERHAPS I am naive or simplistic, but I wonder why the city council needs to spend £10,000 on a feasibility study as to whether the disused Wilts & Dorset Bus Station can be a community bus station.

Now at no time have I heard exactly what a community bus station is, but presume that it will be a stopover for buses run by charitable organisations and sports clubs to bring clients to the city centre, and for community buses that ferry country people into the city.

That sounds fine; most of those vehicles already come into the city, so somewhere fairly close to the centre where they can disembark and allow travellers to rendezvous for return journeys will obviously be very useful.

Surely, since this was a bus station, it must be feasible for the vehicles described above to use it as such and, since these community buses already visit the city, should not make traffic appreciably heavier.

The toilets will obviously need considerable modernisation and refurbishment but that should not burst the bank - particularly if the initial £10,000 can be saved.

The café/restaurant is another kettle of fish given the surfeit of cafés, restaurants, tea rooms, coffee shops and sandwich bars already in the city, in all probability even a sandwich bar might struggle.

Perhaps a chat with the last manager of the Wilts & Dorset cafeteria might throw a little light on that aspect, although the passenger and driver trade is likely to be less than during their tenure.

Canvas potential users to find how many vehicles would want to use it, and how often, and decide what to charge should it be deemed necessary.

It should be 'policed' quite cheaply by our existing traffic ambassadors.

Maybe I misunderstand what a community bus station is, and does, and everything is more complex, but £10,000 is an awful lot of our money.

Brian Ford, Bemerton Heath

THE city council’s desire to buy the now-defunct bus station puzzles me.

Wilts & Dorset has, very cleverly, divested themselves of the property and staff costs of the bus station, with Wiltshire Council and its tax payers picking up the bill for an alternative set of arrangements.

Should the bus station become the property of the city council, who will use it?

It would seem unlikely that Wilts & Dorset could be persuaded to rent it - they no longer need it.

Stephen Williamson, Laverstock

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