This might come as a bit of surprise to some of you…
Plymouth’s project to create better facilities for coach tours has led to the city being shortlisted as a coach friendly destination in the British Coach Tourism Awards.
The Council embarked a package of works designed to create a better welcome for coach passengers coming to Britain’s Ocean City with its new multi-million coach station in the West End. As part of the project, the team reviewed all the coach facilities across the city to take into account the expanding market. As well as the coach station the Council:
- Re-profiled Derry’s Cross Roundabout in the West End to provide two locations which cater for up to five coaches at any one time.
- Provided two high quality stainless steel and glass passenger waiting shelters with integrated tourist and coach driver information.
- Committed to redevelop existing coach facilities on the historic waterfront, the Barbican, to provide better use of space and greater capacity which will hopefully lead to more coach trips.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport and Planning said: “Building a new coach station gave us the opportunity to look at what else we could do to make Plymouth as coach friendly as possible. “As well as these new facilities we have been talking to National Express, the coach station operators who will be able to take holiday and visitor coaches on a pre-arranged basis. This is a market we want to see grow here in Plymouth and we are doing what we can to support it.”
The project team collected data over 18 months and worked closely with a number of stakeholders including the Confederation of Passenger Transport and Destination Plymouth. It looked at making sure there were adequate waiting facilities for passengers, good access, convenient locations, safety particularly in the evenings was also taken into account and access to visitor information to other facilities. It looked at making sure there were adequate waiting facilities for passengers, convenient locations, safety was also taken into account and access to other facilities.
The team also negotiated better facilities provided commercially by the city’s two main bus companies, Plymouth Citybus and Stagecoach, at their depots. At Bretonside driver facilities only included parking. Now, the new facilities offer minor repairs, washing services, toilet drops and complimentary bus passes to allow travel back to the City Centre. As well as facilities the project included an extensive information strategy to make sure the changes were communicated to both the industry and passengers. Maps, highways signs and were also updated as well as websites.
Amanda Lumley, Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth said: “We get lots of visitors who travel by coach particularly from places such as Germany. “Coach tourism will play a part in boosting our tourist figures which will help bring money into the local economy. Having better drop-off and lay over facilities close to key tourist attractions and amenities all helps create a better experience for visitor.
“Getting recognition from the trade through these awards all helps keep us in the spotlight.”
The winners will be announced on Wednesday 22 March at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham
Judging by previous comments here. I seem to be in a minority when it comes to assessing how the council have done with replacing Bretonside. The new coach station may not be the best, but it seems to be kept clean and appears to be operating well enough from what I have seen so far. Bretonside may have been a great place to go and see and more importantly for some, photograph visiting coaches but it was a real dump and presented a very poor first impression of the city to visitors.
Thanks to Richard Smith for the photos