E&E Letters | No rising costs for bus station

24 November 2016

E&E Letters | No rising costs for bus station

New Bus Station for Exeter

I need to set the record straight over the story headlined Fears cost of temporary Exeter bus stops will continue to rise [E&E on-line, 14 November 2016].

The first paragraph refers to concern over “the spiraling costs of the redevelopment bus station Exeter Bus Station.”

The concerns are raised by Cllr Percy Prowse, and the claims are completely inaccurate.

So let’s get the facts striaght. There are no spiralling costs over the redevelopment of Exeter Bus Station.

Unfortunately, Cllr Percy Prowse misunderstood the figures given to him ahead of the recent Exeter HATOC meeting/

The same figures were also made available to the Echo.

Allow me to be absolutely clear over this and set the record straight.

The City Council is paying for a brand new Bus Station to be built in Exeter. A budget of £6.25m has been set aside .

Contained within that figure is a budget of £400,000 to cover the costs of the temporary bus arrangements.

These arrangements will enable people to continue accessing bus services in the city centre during the time the current bus station closing next spring and the new station opening in the winter of 2018.

On Monday [14 November 2016], Exeter HATOC approved a budget of £80,000 for the highways works necessary for the temporary arrangements. Despite the inaccurate claim by Cllr Prowse, I can confirm that this figure has not gone up, and is contained within the £400k budget.

The £90,000 he refers to is actually the budget for the temporary bus shelters. Again, this figure has not gone up, and is contained within the £400k budget.

The budget of £400k has not gone up – in fact, it is considerably less than the original estimate for the works.

So where are the spiralling costs? There aren’t any.

Cllr Prowse had these figures explained to him at meeting this week, and now accepts that there are no spiralling costs, or rising costs, of any kind. I hope that the Echo and its readers accept this too.

The new Bus Station will be a huge improvement on the current ageing facility, and worth every penny that is spent on it.

And rest assured, I will make sure that every penny spent on it is carefully budgeted, carefully monitored, and carefully accounted for

Cllr Phil Bialyk
Lead Councillor for Sport, and Health & Wellbeing
Exeter City Council


Further reading:
Exeter City Council [Media release]: Temporary arrangements during the bus station closure [ 20 October 2016]

Exeter City Council [Media release]: Councillors discuss temporary arrangements during bus station closure [09 November 2016] 

Exeter City Council [Media release]: Plans for major redevelopment of Exeter Bus Station move forward [16 November 2016]

ECC Executive: Minutes of Leisure Complex and Bus Station Programme Board – 07 November 2016 [08 December]

ECC Place Scrutiny: Questions from Cllr Percy Prowse to Cllr Phil Bialyk [10 November 2016]

Exeter HATOC: Exeter Bus Station Interim Arrangements [14 November 2016]



DCC | New Bus Station Minimum Requirements

DCC logo

Exeter Bus Station | New Bus Station Minimum Requirements

Bus Bays

The following calculations are for local bus services only and assume that the two National Express bays will be displaced to e.g. Belgrave Road/ Bampfylde Street, with all long distance express coaches operating from there.

This will require:

  • displacement of on-street car parking to accommodate these bays,
  • provision of sufficient shelters etc. to accommodate intending passengers, those waiting with them and their luggage
  • provision of sufficed space to enable the coaches to safely deploy their nearside wheelchair lifts.

The local bus service bay requirement, based on current service levels, is 14 departure bays plus 5 layover bays.

The current provision is 13 departure bays plus 6 layover bays (of which more than 5 are rarely needed).

The minimum number of bays, for local bus services only, that can work operationally is 12 departure bays plus 5 layover bays.

Below this number, as departure bay numbers reduce a corresponding increase in layover bays is required. A minimum of 17 bays is therefore required. If the majority of these can be accommodated in the bus station the remainder can be located immediately adjacent in Cheeke Street (between Bampfylde Street and Belgrave Road) as long as this section of Cheeke Street is for buses only.

There is no future-proofing in this number, which is the absolute minimum for the current service levels. This number also provides no scope for future growth in services as Exeter grows. Future growth in services would in turn result in a poorer bus station experience for the public and/ or more bus stops on streets away from the bus station.

Passenger Requirements

The bus station needs to provide a positive visitor experience to the city, as reflected in the Exeter City Council City Centre Vision (2010). It will also need to adequately cope with the increased numbers of visitors, workers and shoppers coming to the city who cannot be accommodated by more traffic and who will therefore need to travel into the city by public transport.

The minimum requirements for the public are:

  • Sufficient bus bays to ensure that buses do not regularly have to depart from the wrong bay (see above).
  • Good walking access, between the city centre and bus station, relatively direct, in a pleasant environment that will not be intimidating in the evening or when dark, with multiple entry/ exit points to ensure that it is open from all directions (and not closed off from any direction).
  • Good waiting facilities: a roof over waiting areas and a waiting room of a good design, well lit by natural light and lighting.
  • Sufficient space for intending passengers to wait for buses, in the dry with some seating and space for luggage etc..
  • A positive welcoming ambience throughout the bus station and the pedestrian access between the bus station and the city centre.
  • Public toilets in the bus station or close by.
  • A cafe and small retail facilities (e.g. a newsagent as currently located in the bus station).
  • Enquiry office for bus company staff to help the public with enquiries and deal with problems and concerns.

Operational Requirements

The bus station needs to be properly managed. Facilities are also needed for drivers to start/ end their shifts in the bus station, given the displacement of current depot facilities by the new development and the need to relocate the bus depot adjacent to the site.

The minimum requirements are:

  • Driver paying in facilities and safe
  • Cash room
  • Staff canteen/ rest room
  • Staff toilets
  • 2 small offices for administrative and management purposes
  • Public Enquiry Office (could be co-located with a TIC on/adjacent tot eh bus station)
  • Inspectors’’ Office (could be co-located in the enquiry office)

Only the last two have to be on ground level; the others can be upstairs.

Other Essential Requirements

The current bus station site functions both as a bus station (the upper site) and as a depot (the lower site) for:

  • parking 120 buses overnight
  • bus layovers during the day

The lower site also provides facilities for excursion coaches:

  • drop off/ pick up point
  • parking for coaches whist passengers visit Exeter.

The new bus station will therefore also require the provision of these other essential facilities elsewhere. Whilst it can be envisaged that the excursion coach facilities can be relatively easily accommodated elsewhere, the current bus depot cannot function without parking for its 120 buses in close proximity.

Concurrent relocation of the bus depot to a new site – that is adequate for its requirements and that has adequate access – is therefore a necessary part of the development of the current bus station site.


Bruce Thompson
Transport Co-ordination Service
Devon County Council