Is It Finished Yet?
No, it isn’t! But it is nearly finished and has been nearly finished for months! There are, of course, hughly paid project managers whose job it is to ensure that projects such as this take longer and cost more than predicted.
Often the results of these well-planned (?) projects are worse that what has been replaced.
Once upon a rime there was no bus station at Ryde. There was a line of shelters along the esplanade and waiting passengers had to mingle with those happily esplanading.
Ironically, during the latest rebuild buses returned to stand along the esplanade, just like in the good old days.
The previous bus station had eight stands lettered A to H, with head in buses …
… and adequate covered area for waiting passengers. The new bus station has just four stands …
… well spaced out, so less convenient for a speedy interchange. Each stand has just one standard sized bus shelter with seating that is uncomfortable and too high to sit on.
The old bus station had plenty of room to “stack” buses whilst waiting for their turn of duy.
Six could be accommodated with ease.
The new bus station has none and already some buses are obliged to take a little run up and down the esplanade until their stand is vacated by the previous departure. This will get much worse once the high summer traffic arrives!
But the big positive of the new plans is that buses to the south and west of Ryde would be able to leave and run direct up the hill instead of a lengthy trundle slong the esplanade and back.
The new escape route, complete with its traffic lights, was still closed and inoperative when our Island correspondent visited a few days ago and there is no date for its opening.
Ryde Pier is now fully open and a half hourly train service is running.,
Again, months late!
The above shot also shows the new pedestrian walkway. It was to have been covered …
… and double the present width with the extra half used for cycles. Now you walk half a mile in whatever weather the Island can muster, but from bitter (literally!) experience, fbb can assure his readers that it can be an unpleasant experience.
But, to be a little less negative, within the constraints of a dramatically reduced budget, the walkway is well done.
It starts off alongside the new windbreak that protects waiting train passengers (the privileged few!).
Outside the wall, on departure from station and ferry terminal …
… the walkway runs round the car park.
That “wall” used to have windows so you could enjoy the view!
Where a multitude of cars now park, a multitude of holidaymakers could enjoy the ballroom and restaurant.
The walkway is built on the former tramway track …
… and is, despite the rain and wind, significantly safer than sharing the pier with motor traffic!
Here it is from above …
… and here is what it looked like for years and years after the tramway was closed.
On balance, then, better for pedestrians but not as good as it should have been.
But no project these days is complete without pandering to the green travel myth and doing something helpful for cyclists. So Ryde Esplanade now has a cycle track and it is painted green to boot.
It runs from the outer end of the bus station …
… to the entrance to the Hovercraft terminal and the car park …
… and on to a few yards beyond the Pavilion (seen in part above); where space runs out, so the cycleway runs out.
“I say chaps,” quoth the council, “we can spend loadsa money on a useless cycle lane going nowhere worth going but it will satisfy our policy of greener travel. Notably, it might get us a few votes from cyclists at the next Council elections.”
Just for our readers’enjoyment, here is a view of the main part of the cycle track looking back towards the bus station.
So for huge expenditure on pier and bus station we have …
less space for buses
less space for waiting passengers
a pier walkway that should have been better
and sometime soon …
a quicker route for buses from bus station to town
… and sometime not soon …
… a minor but expensive rejig of the the esplanade station.
Two not very rousing cheers!
AND we have a pretty green cycle track!
Does This Make It Clearer?
Probably not. When fbb picked it up, it fell to bits!
And For A Quiet Relaxing Holiday …
… why not try a cruise?
How fbb hankers after the 40 bars, restaurants and bowling alleys!
There is something to be said for a week at Skeggy!
Next Contrast And compare blog : Friday 14th July