Bolton's new £48 million interchange has opened its doors to commuters.
It replaces Bolton Bus Station on Moor Lane, with the first bus service setting off from the new facility early on Sunday 3 September.
Bolton Council Leader, Councillor Cliff Morris, and Councillor Guy Harkin, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee Vice-Chair, joined hundreds of passengers at the new interchange on Monday morning.
Councillor Cliff Morris said: “It is fantastic to see the completion of this exciting development. The interchange brings Bolton’s transport facilities firmly into the 21st century. It’s a magnificent new gateway to our town and an important part of our masterplan for the town centre.”
Bolton Interchange offers passengers better customer information and enhanced waiting and ticketing facilities in a light, bright and safer environment. The concourse features a café, convenience store, cash machine and free Wi-Fi.
A ‘Skylink’ bridge connects the interchange to the nearby rail station offering easy transfer between bus and trains. The taxi rank adjacent to the rail station also re-opened on Monday.
A new 48-space Cycle Hub outside the main interchange entrance on Great Moor Street offers secure storage for bikes, with CCTV and swipe card access, for £10 membership per year.
TfGM committee vice chair, Councillor Guy Harkin, added: “The opening of Bolton Interchange marks the culmination of a lot of hard work and I’d like to thank everyone who’s been involved in the delivery of this new site.
“I’m sure passengers will be impressed by the modern, spacious waiting area which includes electronic customer information, a café, retail facilities, accessible public toilets and a cash machine. By offering these enhanced facilities, we hope many more people will choose public transport for their journeys.”
The opening of the interchange coincides with the start of a new school year for students in Bolton and the launch of the 16-18 card. The smartcard, which was announced by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, allows pupils, students and young people to enjoy half-price bus travel.
Bolton Interchange includes some important features for customers, including level or ramped flooring throughout, enhanced toilets, baby-changing and ‘Changing Places’ facilities.
TfGM consulted its Design Disability Reference Group (DDRG) throughout the delivery of the interchange. DDRG members have a range of disabilities and provide valuable insights into the challenges experienced by disabled people using public transport, ensuring TfGM takes their views into account.
Addressing Greater Manchester’s wider environmental obligations has also been a key consideration during the interchange’s development.
The roof of the interchange is designed to reduce energy consumption. Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a lightweight alternative to glass, which enables natural light to penetrate into the centre of the building and reduces the requirement for artificial lighting. The same material was used for the roofs on interchanges at Rochdale and Altrincham, as well as at the Eden Project in Cornwall.
John O’Callaghan, Managing Director at Kier Construction Northern, said: “Construction of the Bolton Interchange was the largest and technically most challenging of the three interchanges we’ve undertaken in partnership with TfGM through the North West Construction Hub.
“We’re very proud to be handing over to the people of Bolton what we hope will prove to be a superb facility for many years to come.”
Bolton Interchange has been delivered by TfGM and Bolton Council. It has been financed through the Greater Manchester Transport Fund and supports the wider regeneration of the town centre.
For further information, visit www.tfgm.com/bolton-interchange.