Rochdale Bus Station
Image by mrrobertwade (wadey)
The present Rochdale Bus Station opened in April 1978 with 24 stands on two platforms (each with 12 stands, 6 either side). Designed by Essex, Goodman and Suggitt Architects, each stand had a bank of wooden corner seats with shallow armrests. Access to each of its stands were linked by means of subways, thus avoiding accidents between buses and passengers. They also linked the bus stands with a central concourse as well as street level leading to The Butts, Smith Street and Drake Street. Overhead access was augmented by a footbridge, leading to the then new Rochdale Shopping Centre (another one-time brown toilet tiled relic!).
Left of the stands is the Metro Rochdale council offices with the ground level passenger concourse housing a Thwaites pub, cafés, newsagents and a SaverSales office. Escalators lead to the footbridge with gloriously toilet-tastic tiling. In 1996, subway access was discontinued in favour of ground level pedestrian crossings. To meet DDA requirements and improve the waiting environment, lighting was upgraded with non-slip flooring also introduced.
Post-deregulation and privatisation related contraction has seen the present bus station having a surfeit of stands. Its gloomy interior and diesel fumes from passing buses made for an ambience akin to Birmingham New Street railway station, exacerbated by a multi-storey car park atop its 24 stands.
Plans for the proposed bus/tram interchange have been on ice prior to yesterday’s announcement. The £11.5 million scheme will the first in Europe to boast integrated hydropower generation, harnessing the River Roch for its power source. Joint contributions will be made by the Department of Transport, Transport for Greater Manchester and Rochdale MBC. It also retains a historical link with one of Rochdale’s best known coach operators. Prior to 1989, the site of Rochdale Interchange was Yelloway’s Weir Street coach station and head office.