BY KATE DENNETT
A coach station will remain at its historic site with improvements being made to customer facilities.
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that Victoria Coach Station will stay at its 87-year-old central property beyond 2020, when the original lease was set to expire.
It will be working with coach operators to renovate facilities at the Grade-II listed station and work on layout changes to the station to make it easier for customers to find their coaches.
Head of Coach Operations at TfL Helen Lee said: “Coaches play a critical role driving the economy of the capital and beyond, boosting tourism to London and providing affordable travel options with cities across the UK.
“Without Victoria Coach Station, coaches would still travel to the centre of the city but drop off and pick up on-street. This would increase noise, congestion and pollution for people living, working and visiting central London.
It would also deprive the 14 million passengers who use this affordable long-distance travel every year of vital welfare facilities and ease of access to onward connections.”
The large coaches will continue to drop-off and pick-up people from the safe location, separate from walkers and cyclists.
TfL is looking at sustainable solutions for travel that reduce vehicles on the roads.
This eco-friendly measure will see every coach at Victoria Coach Station having some of the cleanest engines available from next year.
New coach facilities will be introduced across the capital to complement the new features to be installed at Victoria.
Tim Bellenger, Director of Policy and Investigation at London TravelWatch, said: “The decision to retain Victoria Coach Station is fantastic news.
Its loss would have been a terrible blow for coach services and their passengers across the UK. It is a well-managed facility, in a good location which provides good connectivity. It also has excellent facilities.
“London TravelWatch has made representations in support of its retention via the London Plan process over many years and our view was that there simply wasn’t a viable alternative location for a comparable facility.
“This news will be welcomed by passengers, particularly the elderly and disabled who value the easy bus-to-bus interchange.”
TfL will work with industries, London’s boroughs and passengers to find the best locations for the supporting sites over the coming months.
The renovations and new sites will give passengers more travel options and minimise the amount of coaches on the roads.
Keith McNally, Operations Director at the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “This is great news for coach operators, who provide affordable connectivity across the UK and Europe.
As well as playing a vital role in cutting congestion and improving air quality, the station acts as a working hub for operators and as a focal point for travellers, with many using it to interchange to onward destinations.
“Coach operators can now make their business and investment plans with the welcome knowledge that the station will remain operational.
“We are looking forward to working with TfL to deliver real improvements for operators and passengers at the site, so that the coach network across the UK can be developed further.”