Sunday 6th February 2022
Readers will have seen my recent news update about Essex County Council promoting its “spring clean” of Harlow’s notorious bus station “with help from Arriva and Harlow Council”.
It was good news that “public transport posters and timetables have been updated, alongside a deep clean” so as I was passing through on my recent trip to Cambridge, I couldn’t resist stopping off in Harlow to take a look.
And it was a very welcome improvement; so well done to those who arranged this and actually carried out the work.
I won’t use the word ‘transformational’ since that would be to overstate things, but it is much better.
It comes to something when taking down long outdated posters promoting services that haven’t run for years, removing flyposting and displaying up to date timetables is something to be proud of and promote in a news update. But sadly, such were the depths to which Harlow bus station had fallen; it really is something to behold.
There’s even an Arriva network map on display in both large poster format as well as at each departure bay.
There’s also a promotional poster for Arriva’s “greenline 724” with a lot to take in and read …..
… and in small format on the closed Visitor Information office window making for, probably, too small print for many; certainly I struggled to read it all.
It would be churlish of me to point out any discrepancies I spotted when I called by on Monday but how could those doing the “deep clean” have missed the three foot-pedal operated sanitiser dispensers by the departure points?
Each one was empty and, ironically, in need of a good clean as were the surrounds where they were sited.
Although the two bus shelters supposedly serving the three bus stops outside of the covered in departure stand area have been cleaned of graffiti and flyposters, they still looked unloved and uncared for.
That empty poster case inside is an open invitation for some flyposting.
Let’s hope the much anticipated redevelopment of the site and planned new bus station I wrote about in November isn’t too far down the track so these bus shelters can be banished for good.
Lessons need to be learned from this experience.
Firstly, a nominated person needs to be responsible for keeping displays in a presentable state. Otherwise they’ll soon slip back again.
Secondly, that person needs to visit the site on a regular and frequent basis to be sure everything is up to date in a changing world, there’s been no flyposting and the place is clean.
Thirdly, there needs to be a realistic budget to cover cleaning and minor maintenance requirements which inevitably arise in a facility used by the public every day.
It’s not hard.
It’s very straight forward.
It needs doing.
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Next blog: Tuesday 8th February 2022: Ember’s still glowing.