Interchange: success or failure?

The Transport Interchange building in Galashiels has been open for 12 months '“ and has recorded more than 72,000 bus departures in its first year of operation.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 25th August 2016, 2:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 3:34 pm
Gareth Cuthbert sent this photo of what appears to be a repair by parcel tape at the train exit door of the Interchange building.
Gareth Cuthbert sent this photo of what appears to be a repair by parcel tape at the train exit door of the Interchange building.

However, while Scottish Borders Council was singing its praises this week, bus users took to The Southern’s Facebook page to highlight the building’s failures.

The landmark building was opened to the public in August 2015 and the council says up to 3,000 people per day use the facility to access bus and rail services.

Almost 1,400 bus departures take place every week across all operators, while four commercial tenants currently operate in the building.

Interchange opening

The building won a Scottish Property Award in the Town Centre Regeneration Project of the Year category in March.

It is open 21 hours a day to allow access to bus and train services, while other facilities include a café, tourist information, bus and train real-time information and a railway ticket machine.

There are also showers, toilets and bike lockers to promote cycling and walking.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, Councillor Gordon Edgar, said: “The aim of the Transport Interchange when it opened one year ago was to provide a gateway to Galashiels and the Borders.

Interchange opening

“With the number of people now using the facility to travel on the Borders Railway or on one of the various bus services, it is clear that the award-winning building is fulfilling this role.

“Staff in the TI have welcomed visitors from the across the world, with one employee even lending a bike to a visitor from New Zealand who wanted to cycle around the region.

“In addition, there is growing interest in the office space on offer, with four companies having so far chosen to set up in the building.

“We want to build on this initial success and ensure the Transport Interchange achieves its long term aim of promoting better connections.”

Andy Drane, partner at Davidson Chalmers which is one of the tenants in the Transport Interchange, said moving to the building has seen “a complete transformation” in how they do business.

However, it is not without its detractors.

On Facebook, Chris Wildig said: “Door handles falling off, toilets packing in, plumbing faults, automatic doors broken, plastering literally falling off the wall, lift broken – all of this has happened (and more) in the first 12 months.

“Add this to the absolute plethora of disrespectful and loud youngsters that sit there all night terrorising the place by riding on scooters, bikes and being cheeky to public, staff and police ... sounds like a massive success.”

Gary Kowbel wrote: “LOL just like the rest of Gala at the moment, it’s a disaster and half-empty.”

And Iain F MacMillan commented: “Sorry but I’ve never really ‘seen’ what use it is – building or staff. The toilets, especially for a new building, are disgusting. The whole place has potential but as it stands it’s just an expensive bus shelter and a safe place for passengers to hang around until near the time for the next train.”

Other comments related to “parcel-tape repairs” and the fact that train passengers had to cross a busy road to get to the building.