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Plea over bus station rebuild

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A Walsall MP and passengers today called for Walsall bus station, which opened just seven years ago, to be pulled down and rebuilt following the second serious crash in less than a year.

Walsall bus station crashA Walsall MP and passengers today called for Walsall bus station, which opened just seven years ago, to be pulled down and rebuilt following the second serious crash in less than a year.

Two women and one man, all believed to be in their 70s, today remained in a stable condition at Walsall Manor Hospital following the lunchtime collision between two buses yesterday.

It is believed the impact sent one of the vehicles careering through a barrier into a crowd of people trapping the two women who are understood to be from the Cannock area.

Worried passengers, bus drivers and an MP today called for urgent action labelling the station which only opened in September 2000, as poorly designed with too many bends, overcrowded and an accident waiting to happen. One bus driver, who asked not to be named, said: "Walsall Bus Station is a nightmare to work in. There are just too many buses in there. Operators and Centro need to sort this all out because it will happen again."

Walsall South MP Bruce George said: "My strong advice to Centro is to seriously consider pulling it down and starting again.

"At present it cannot accommodate the number of big buses, the volume of passengers and in my view is too cramped and has too many bends."

Bus user David Law added: "I'm afraid until they cut the number of buses using this bus station this will be repeated."

In July 65-year-old pensioner Jean Crump, of Lime Avenue, Bentley, died from multiple injuries after she was struck by an out-of-control Arriva bus near the station.

Centro, which owns the bus station, today reassured bus passengers it is safe but promised it is prepared to implement any recommendations which come out of the investigation. It reopened to passengers at 8.30pm last night.

Centro's bus and highways director Stephen Rhodes said: "Following the accident in the summer we did a full investigation and it concluded the bus station is safe and the design is safe. Clearly something went badly wrong yesterday and that is the subject of an investigation."

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