A store owner today branded the removal of a bus stop as a ‘nail in the coffin’ for traders.
Alix Porter, of MG Bargains on Talbot Road, Blackpool, says her takings have dropped by half since two bus stops on either side of the road were relocated further up Talbot Road near the new council offices.
Now she is calling on Blackpool Transport to reinstate the boarding points.
She said: “As traders we have had to cope with a lot of upheaval due to the Talbot Gateway work, such as pavements and roads blocked, the closing down of the bus station car park and loss of others in the area, but now the transport company has put another large nail in our coffin by removing the bus stops that have been here for years and placing new ones near the new Gateway buildings.
“I have run a petition along with another shop holder on this stretch of the road, and we have 400 signatures requesting the bus stops be reinstated. I had a lot of regular elderly customers who no longer come to the shop because they have difficulty walking up hill to the new bus stop and don’t like crossing the road at Wilkinsons as it’s busy with traffic.
“These people now get on and off buses further in town, near BHS etc. This has had a terrible effect on businesses in this part of Talbot Road,
“We have lost a lot of customers as a result and our takings have dropped to 50 per cent of what we were taking when the bus stop was there.
“Surely it’s not a lot to ask for us to have both bus stops rather than just the one.”
Saheed Chaudhry, owner of News and Booze on Talbot Road, said it had also affected custom at his shop, and helped Mrs Porter collect signatures.
But some other stores said they were not affected.
Lisa Lancaster, retail development manager for Homeless Action, which has a charity shop on Talbot Road, said: “From my point of view I can’t say it has made any noticeable difference to the footfall on Talbot Road.”
Bus chiefs said it had always been the intention to relocate the stops.
Bob Mason, Blackpool Transport director of delivery, said: “As I understand it, the bus stop that has been closed was only ever meant to be a temporary measure while the Talbot Gateway works took place, albeit it has been in place for a number of years.
“The bus stop was in a bus lane and this did interrupt the flow of vehicles moving eastwards on Talbot Road when buses pulled in to the stop, also the carriageway is very narrow and this did cause pedestrians issues.
“The new stops on Talbot Road are working really well and the customer feedback has not been negative.”