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The past, present and future of Harrow Bus Station

Ah, Harrow Bus Station, the pride and joy of Harrow Town Centre, where time seems to have stood still amidst the chaos of modernisation since the early 80s.

Nestled on College Road, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Harrow-on-the-Hill rail and tube stations, this charming Harrow hub has captured the hearts of local residents and visitors to our borough alike. However, its days may be numbered, as whispers of a colossal redevelopment plan could bulldoze it!

Transport for London, the illustrious owner and caretaker of this precious gem, has faithfully preserved the station over the years. Five stands have dutifully served as launching pads for the buses of London Sovereign, Metroline, and Arriva London, bravely venturing forth to glamorous destinations like Watford, Ealing, and even the distant land of Charing Cross (Night Bus). Oh, the grand adventures that have commenced from those humble stands!

Back in the annals of history, 27 May 1981 to be exact, the chairman of London Transport and the Mayor of Harrow graced the opening ceremony of Harrow Bus Station. The cost of £865,000 was a small price to pay for this architectural wonder and a fraction of what it would cost in 2023. Then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the bus station opened its doors to the eager public on 30 May, promising a world of transportation possibilities.

The past, present and future of Harrow Bus Station Harrow Online
Image: Stacey Harris

But lo and behold, not all was rosy in the realm of Harrow Bus Station. Vandalism, that bane of public infrastructure, reared its ugly head, plaguing the poor station with its unwelcome presence. The powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, commissioned an architect to tackle this dastardly issue in April 1988.

After a mere four months of refurbishment, the bus station emerged like a gallant knight, ready to face the world once more on 27 June 1993.

Yet, dear readers, things may indeed take a darker turn. The very fabric of Harrow Bus Station’s existence now hangs by a thread, threatened by the all-consuming jaws of redevelopment. Plans to reshape Harrow Town Centre have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future of this beloved landmark. Will the station be flattened, its memories and charm reduced to rubble, all in the name of progress?

Oh, the irony! First and foremost, let us acknowledge the passage of time. Harrow Bus Station, with its nostalgic charm, has served the community faithfully for decades. However, in this rapidly evolving world, transportation needs and demands have shifted dramatically. It’s time to bid farewell to the limitations of the past and welcome a more modern, efficient, and sustainable transit hub.

Imagine a revitalised Harrow Town Centre, teeming with vibrant energy and a state-of-the-art transportation facility. A redesigned bus station could offer improved amenities and enhanced connectivity, catering to the needs of today’s tech-savvy commuters. Imagine comfortable waiting areas, equipped with charging stations for smartphones and tablets, providing a seamless blend of convenience and connectivity.

A revamped bus station could be a catalyst for urban renewal, breathing new life into the heart of Harrow. The redevelopment project could create opportunities for innovative architecture, blending harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. This fresh, contemporary design could attract more visitors and businesses to the area, boosting the local economy and transforming Harrow into the hub of activity it rightly deserves to be.

Let’s not forget the environmental benefits that a redesigned bus station could bring. With a focus on sustainability, the new facility could incorporate eco-friendly features like solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and electric vehicle charging stations. Promoting greener modes of transportation, such as electric buses, would contribute to reducing the town’s carbon footprint and improving air quality, fostering a healthier environment for both residents and visitors.

The past, present and future of Harrow Bus Station Harrow Online
Image: Robin Sones

The proposed redevelopment of Harrow Town Centre presents an opportunity to create a seamless multimodal transportation hub. Integrating bus, rail, and tube services would enhance connectivity, enabling commuters to transition effortlessly between different modes of transport. This integrated approach would not only improve the overall travel experience but also encourage a shift towards public transportation, reducing congestion on the roads.

Change can be daunting, especially when it involves altering familiar landscapes and bidding farewell to cherished structures. However, in the case of Harrow Bus Station, embracing change offers an array of exciting possibilities. It is an opportunity to shape a future where Harrow Town Centre thrives, a future where modernity, sustainability, and convenience coexist.

So, let us set aside sentimentality and open our hearts to the promise of progress. Let us envision a revitalized Harrow Bus Station, a bustling transportation hub that serves as a gateway to the town’s bright future. Together, we can embrace change and create a Harrow Town Centre that is primed for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.