TRAVELLING to and from Perth by bus is about to get a whole lot more comfortable, with the $217 million underground Perth Busport ready to open.
Construction began on the facility in 2014, and it will be officially unveiled to the public at an open day between 12pm and 3pm on Saturday July 16 before the station is open for business on Sunday June 17.
Passenger comfort has been a chief concern of the two-level facility.
Lifts, stairs and escalators will take passengers from three entry points – Yagan Square, Queen Street and King Street – down to an underground, 16-stand, fully air-conditioned ‘departure lounge’.
The area has 160 seats, and resembles an airport terminal, with glass panels enclosing the lounge from bus traffic.
The lounge has four sections, each with four stands.
Bus Operations Manager Andrew Foreman, who began as a bus driver in 1982 before moving into planning and development, said the facility was a huge step forward in terms of comfort and safety.
“With the old (Wellington Street) bus station, the buses were in rows, and you’d have to walk across the road to get your bus,” Mr Foreman said.
“Here, the buses are outside and they go in an anti-clockwise loop so the passenger doesn’t have to walk across the road to get a bus.
“The lounge is all double glazed, has climate control, so it will be a much more pleasant waiting environment.”
Perth Busport uses Dynamic Stand Management technology, similar to an airport, in that buses will not always arrive at or depart from the same stand.
Before a stand is allocated for a bus, a screen will show the group of stands from which it will depart.
Passengers can take a seat and wait, keeping an eye on the screens where, between two and five minutes before departure, the bus will be allocated a stand.
“The old Wellington Street bus station had 16 stands as well, but with Dynamic Stand Management we can put 50 per cent more buses through this bus station,” Mr Foreman said.
“We’re future proofing it. This place will be fine in 50 years time.”
Perhaps most importantly, passengers can also get a quality caffeine fix on their commute, with the Busport playing host to a Mooba coffee bar.
Mooba owner Mark Dillon, whose cafés sell Toastface Grillah sandwiches and Top Dup doughnuts, is excited about his new venture.
“We’re really stoked being on board,” Mr Dillon said.
“It’s bringing a boutique coffee bar to the Busport.
“Everyone gets trained at the barista academy.
“You can text your order on the bus and it’ll be ready when you arrive.”
The new station’s Wellington Street entrance will ease traffic congestion in the CBD, by removing all buses except CAT services from Wellington Street between Milligan and William Streets.
On a weekday about 1400 buses will use the Busport, and by 2031 it is estimated the station will have about 38,500 passenger movements per day.