Gelare manager Shaun Madresedoose said people used to visit his store after work but now it was so quiet he was closing earlier on weeknights.
‘People would come down here and catch the bus two or three minutes after having an ice-cream,’ Mr Madresedoose said.
‘Normally we close at 7pm, now we close at 6.30pm because no one is here.’
Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said the bus routes were moved from Barrack Street to William Street because of the diversion of Riverside Drive.
Mr Hynes said the changes were part of the CBD Transport Plan that designated William Street as the primary north-south public transport route and Barrack Street as the preferred north-south cycling route.
‘The diversion of Riverside Drive necessitated the changes in the short term, but we would have had to move the buses eventually because the City of Perth plans to make Barrack Street two-way, between St Georges Terrace and Wellington Street in 2015-16, and our buses would not have enough room to safely operate in both directions,’ Mr Hynes said.
Exclusive Linen owner Angie Berardini said shoppers previously used the City Central arcade as a short cut to get to the buses, so the lack of people in the area since January was very noticeable.
‘The numbers have absolutely dropped from this arcade so there has been a drop in sales,’ Ms Berardini said.
Doogues Lucky Lotteries owner Erlin Kahar said there were less people in the city since the introduction of Sunday trading in the suburbs and the removal of the buses.
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the City had received a complaint about the lack of pedestrian traffic on Barrack Street from one food retailer in the area.
She said pedestrian movement on Barrack Street would be enhanced once the redundant bus shelters were removed this month.
‘Developments such as the Old Treasury Buildings Hotel and new City of Perth Library and piazza should see pedestrian numbers rise in the longer term,’ she said.
Mr Hynes said the free red and blue CAT buses remaining on Barrack Street meant there was a bus every three minutes on weekdays and every 10 minutes on weekends.
‘We estimate that 1000 passengers board buses along Barrack Street each day,’ he said.