Bus station scheme means fewer places for blue badge holders

The bus station now fenced off as work begins
The bus station now fenced off as work begins

Wigan’s blue badge holders are set to face months of parking misery as yellow lines replace disabled bays during a multi-million overhaul of the borough’s public transport services.

The town centre bus depot, located between Market Street and Hallgate, is set for an 18-month face-lift which will see services changed and temporary stops added while work is under way.

Construction started this week, with the existing station closing after the last service terminated on Sunday, July 30.

Transport For Greater Manchester, which is carrying out the massive refurbishment, has released details of all the town centre spots which will house temporary bus stops. But blue badge holders in the town have spoken up against the plans, which will see a loss of around 16 spaces in a 78m disabled parking bar.

Jenny O’ Donnell said: “Have I missed something? But been round town today and there seems to of been an explosion of double yellow lines.

“The parking bays near the post office (back of bus station) have gone, the disabled parking near the taxi rank at the market - gone . The street outside Coops all marked with yellow lines with no waiting stripes.

“I’m a blue badge holder and that’s about 20 plus disabled spaces gone. I have an appointment near the bus station next week and there is no parking now. Surely the council can’t just remove all those bays without consultation?”

The temporary stops laid out by TfGM will be at Market Hall lay-by on New Market Street, Hallgate, Richmond Street, Downing Street, King Street, Library Street and Parsons Walk.

During the 18-month period there will also be no taxi rank at the Market Hall lay-by, with all taxi services being relocated to the town centre.

TGfM has worked alongside Wigan Council, who are helping to advise on alternative routes for buses and parking spaces for drivers.

Emma Barton, Wigan Council’s assistant director for economy and regeneration, said: “Temporarily closing off these bays will allow us to provide a safe location for bus passengers to access their usual form of transport and commute across and out of the borough on a daily basis.

“To limit the disruption to our residents and offset the loss of disabled parking spaces on New Market Street we have provided alternative four hours free disabled parking on the nearby Mona Street car park.

“This was agreed after working closely with the Wigan Access Committee prior to removing the parking bays.

“The other bays which are currently out of use are not disabled parking bays, they are a mixture of taxi ranks, pay and display, loading and limited waiting bays. All will be reinstated when the bus station works are complete.”

The bus depot has been designed to improve links into Wigan, with the aim of giving the town an economic boost by providing better access to employment, retail, leisure and education “opportunities”.