Deal struck with Easybus to end Wrexham bus station's 'Drugs Central' image

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

A deal has been struck for Easybus to manage Wrexham’s bus station.

The firm, which last year began operating a service to Manchester Airport from Wrexham General railway station, will manage the station in King Street for at least three years, with an option to extend the deal.

Wrexham Council’s lead member for environment and transport, Cllr David A Bithell, said the deal would mean the information centre at the station would be open from Monday to Saturday and that Easybus would have a supervisor on site to oversee things.

The information centre has been closed for a number of years and Cllr Bithell said he was happy it would be coming back into use.

Last year, issues with Spice and Mamba users congregating around the bus station made headlines across the country.

At the time, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said the coverage painted the town in a humiliating light as pictures of people said to be feeling the effects of new psychoactive substances around the bus station featured prominently in national newspapers and on TV.

Cllr Bithell said: “We have had some issues at the bus station and buses have been high on the agenda over the last year.

“This is going to be a major boost for the people of Wrexham. Lots of people have asked for us to improve the facilities there.

“The bus station is the first experience people see coming into Wrexham. There have been well-documented issues around there but I think it has really improved in the last six to eight months.

“Hopefully people will get a better first impression of Wrexham.”

Leader of the council, Cllr Mark Pritchard, added: “Security within the King Street area has been a big issue but we have had a fantastic response from the public and the retailers.

“There has been a requirement for security at the bus station and we will probably review it in the future but at this moment in time, because of the issues we have had, we would like to keep it in place.” 

Cllr Bithell added the first phase of an improvement programme had taken place at the station, with pest control measures, LED lighting upgrades, painting of the concourse and upgrades to information boards forming part of the work.

The improvements were funded by a £73,000 grant from the Welsh Government.

And Cllr Bithell said there would be more improvements to come in the future.

CCTV is to be upgraded, there will be improved seating and non-slip flooring as well as refurbishment of the toilets and information office.

Cycle storage facilities will be introduced and the station will also be rebranded.

Executive board members will also consider proposals to implement a three-year phased increase in departure charges, as well as the introduction of an annual £2,000 permit charge for operators requiring the use of existing layover spaces at the station.

Cllr Bithell said departure charges had not risen since 2011/12 and if approved, the fee would only go up by 3p per bus.

He added: “It’s a matter for private bus operators to set their fares at a competitive rate to make sure people use public transport.”

The meeting at the Guildhall will take place from 10am on Tuesday.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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