The £21m Transport Interchange in South Shields has welcomed its one millionth passenger.
The landmark building, which brought bus and Metro services under the same roof in a modern new environment in the centre of South Shields, is well on its way to attracting the anticipated 7.5m passengers a year.
And just two months after opening the new interchange’s passenger footfall has gone past the one million mark.
The interchange, which opened on August 4, received £9.4m from the Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.
Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Having a modern and efficient transport system is vital for our economy and the new interchange in South Shields demonstrates the North East’s commitment to invest in and improve transport infrastructure.
“Through the Local Growth Fund, the North East LEP is supporting projects that help us deliver the objectives set out in the North East Strategic Economic Plan. Strategic transport improvements such as this not only reduce congestion on our roads but also help people access key employment sites, which in turn helps to grow the economy and create more and better jobs.”
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “To reach a million passengers just two months on from opening is testament to the quality of the South Shields interchange development
“It has transformed the passenger facilities in the town centre, making it one the best new interchanges in Britain. This development forms a key part of the regeneration of South Shields and is a wonderful gateway into a new look town centre for local residents and visitors.”
Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport on South Tyneside Council, said: “The transport interchange has already become a familiar landmark in the town centre.
“The opening of our cultural venue, The Word, resulted in hundreds of thousands of additional visitors coming to the town each year so it was important to create a smart and welcoming arrival point.
“I think we’ve achieved that with the superb new interchange, which further enhances the appeal of South Shields as a premier coastal destination.”
Andrew Fairest, Muse Developments’ projects director, said: “The South Shields Interchange, like many infrastructure projects required meticulous planning to bring the vision to life in the town and we’re proud to see the scheme used by so many passengers already in the short time since it opened its doors to the public.
“The hard work from South Tyneside Council, Nexus, Bowmer & Kirkland and Muse is already benefitting the community, where it is improving the visitor experience, giving a real sense of ‘place’ to the town centre, while creating a new social space, which is larger and more accessible than the old station."
The transport Interchange, which is located on Keppel Street and Fowler Street in the centre of South Shields, provides a new, striking point of arrival into South Shields for both residents and visitors to the town, as well as enhancing connectivity to the various key areas of South Shields.
Its opening marked a major milestone in the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan which is being delivered by South Tyneside Council and partner Muse Developments.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear, took over the management of the new interchange after it opened.
The landmark building was designed by The Harris Partnership and constructed by Bowmer and Kirkland, who also built award-winning cultural venue The Word.
Demolition of the old Metro station and further public realm work into King Street is currently ongoing.