The chairman of the promotional group Portadown 2000 has renewed the demand for “a proper bus station in Portadown, instead of the town centre being used as a shambolic free facility for Ulsterbus”.
Brian Walker is asking the 41 ABC councillors, the six Upper Bann MLAs and MP David Simpson to apply as much pressure as possible on the Ulsterbus parent company Translink to “keep the pledge given years ago that the town would have a combined train and bus station”.
He added, “The current works on the footpaths in High Street have exacerbated the perennial problems of buses snarling up the town. Passengers are being left off here, there and everywhere, and this shows that a proper bus station is essential.
“We were told long ago – as far back as the days of Craigavon Development Commission - that an integrated train-bus station was on the way, when the old station at Watson Street was demolished to make way for Northway.
“Instead, we were given a totally inadequate, rather ugly, train station and had to put up with that until it was replaced recently after much campaigning. But the bus station didn’t materialise, and we are still waiting.
“Smaller towns like Armagh and Enniskillen have had their bus stations for many years, and Portadown is still waiting. We are at the back of the queue in many aspects.
There are a number of sites within proximity to the train station, and where there’s a will there’s a way.”
He also raised the problem of Edward Street being cut off from the rest of the town, with the “totally unnecessary” security barrier – constructed over 40 years ago at the height of the troubles – still in place.
“As far as I know, it’s the only one remaining in Northern Ireland. There is simply no need for it, ” said Mr Walker.
A spokesperson for Translink said they had no plans for a bus station in Portadown at this stage.
Meanwhile, the PSNI said they do not comment on security issues.