Hemel Hempstead’s brand new bus interchange is gearing up for operation, marking yet another completed stage of the town centre upgrade.
The first bus to use the purpose-built transport hub on Marlowes and Bridge Street will be the 5.31am 320 service to Rickmansworth on Monday, December 21.
Marshals will be on hand during the first fortnight to help passengers find their stops and although routes will be clearly flagged, additional temporary signs will be put up in the old bus station in Market Square to show where new stops are.
Dacorum Borough Council has invested more than £2 million in creating the new facility as part of its wider £30 million Hemel Evolution programme.
Councillor Graham Sutton, portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, said: “Yet another piece of the Hemel Evolution jigsaw has fallen into place.
The new bus interchange will encourage more shoppers and visitors into the town centre and also frees up Market Square for a leisure development.”
Benefits brought by the bus interchange include a dedicated arrival and departure area for buses and coaches with modern shelters and real-time passenger displays, allowing customers to make best use of their time in the town centre.
New landscaping and lighting make the area more attractive with new trees and greenery as well as improved lighting and seating.
A new travel information centre next to the neighbouring foodcourt in the new-look pedestrianised shopping area, and there are two new public toilets installed next to travel centre.
The travel centre will be run by Arriva The Shires and will offer tickets and travel advice to customers across all local bus company routes.
Patrick Sibley, general manager for Hemel Hempstead at Arriva, said: “The new bus interchange will provide improved access to the town centre and a better experience for customers.
“Together with Dacorum Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council, Arriva will be working to boost bus use and bring more shoppers and visitors into the area.”
As part of the Hemel Evolution programme, Dacorum Borough Council has also updated the ramped area; railings have been painted and refurbished planters from Market Square now add some greenery.
A few finishing touches will continue in the New Year between the bus interchange and the food court with the installation of some new cycle racks, a new screen for bus passengers and some minor paving works.
For the most up-to-date information regarding how the changes may affect you, people can visit the travel centre next to the foodcourt if they are in town, or visit www.arrivabus.co.uk/south-east/updates.
To find out more about Hemel’s transformation, visit www.dacorum.gov.uk/hemelevolution