When you are waiting for a bus you want to be somewhere you feel safe and comfortable, but residents are telling myself and the Conservative Team, that they feel quite the opposite at Bedford Bus Station. Despite the Council spending approximately £8.8m on the new bus station, residents still see that the bus station is dirty and unpleasant and not befitting of the gateway to our county town.
Even when the Council were pressured into commissioning a deep clean earlier this year it was so poorly carried out it had to be done again. Recently I popped into the bus station and you couldn't miss the smashed glass boarded up that hasn't been fixed for months, electronic notices about the Council's Local Plan consultation with a deadline of July still on display, benches with empty bottles on and worse cigarette butts between the slats of benches where you would sit and much more. In my opinion this is grimly unacceptable.
We know that the number of people visiting Bedford is well down - we can all see that with our own eyes, and a recent Council report published this fact. But if this is the welcome you receive when you arrive into our town centre then lower visitor numbers is of no surprise.
Would you really want to put yourself into the situation of facing the town's bus station if you have an alternative way of getting to town? And what support does this offer local businesses trying to be successful in our town - the current Mayor isn't exactly helping to welcome visitors with his shocking bus station.
Everybody has the need to feel safe in the town where they live - and so do visitors. But what the current Mayor is providing is not this. Businesses are trying their hardest, but if feels like he is not holding up his end. A huge amount of money has been spent on our bus station whilst the Mayor has been in power and really it doesn't show. Residents, visitors and local businesses are being let down yet again. It’s time for a change - Bedford deserves better.