The new Chester bus exchange has undergone its first live testing. Andy Jones driving a Park and Ride bus and John Ball driving a National Express bus were the first to test the facility. Following the successful trial, other bus operators will be testing the interchange over the coming weeks.

Graham Pink, Director of Commissioning Places and Commercial Management said: “The successful trials this week bring us closer to the opening of this fantastic new facility which will provide passengers with a much better experience. We recognise that whilst there have been some delays to the original programme, these were unavoidable and were largely due to unforeseen issues inherent with a brownfield city centre site such as this with the added challenge of working in a historic city.

“Gorse Stacks is one of Chester’s many historic roads and is constructed on top of a concrete slab to reduce the depth of road construction and protect archaeology.  Recent excavation to provide additional drainage in the area revealed further work necessary to the concrete slab before the resurfacing could take place.

“Repairs to the concrete slab needs detailed preparation, this additional work has added a couple of months onto the programme, but they are necessary to ensure that Gorse Stacks gives many years of maintenance free life and continues to protect the city’s archaeological heritage.”

Construction work was originally expected to be completed in March. The Interchange will now be handed over in May.

Once the Bus Interchange work has been completed, there will be a period of time for bus operators to familiarise themselves and for systems to be fully tested. The Bus Interchange is scheduled to open in early June, allowing the necessary notice period for bus operators to change timetables.

To manage 156 buses per hour, the Interchange includes 13 bus stands with information screens providing passengers with live feed information regarding arrival times.

The comfort of passengers has been a priority, a local barista will provide hot drinks and snacks, and there will be free Wifi, a newsagent, information desk and public toilets with changing facilities.