The Gorse Stacks facility was originally due to be completed in December but this slipped to February.
March was then publicised as the opening date but that deadline was also missed with the new launch date now given as early June.
On Monday, the first buses entered the interchange as part of a live test which was ‘successful’ according to CWaC, but not according to ex-bus driver Peter Jones, who took photos from his Newtown home which overlooks the site.
He reports that a National Express coach, fitted with rear wheel steer, did manage to negotiate the first and tightest bend in one movement. But a Park and Ride bus was unable to get round the same bend in one smooth action.
Graham Pink, CWaC’s director of commissioning places and commercial management, said: “The successful trials this week bring us closer to the opening of this fantastic new facility which will provide passengers with a much better experience.
“We recognise that whilst there have been some delays to the original programme, these were unavoidable and were largely due to unforeseen issues inherent with a brownfield city centre site such as this with the added challenge of working in a historic city.”
The interchange will be handed over in May. Once complete, bus operators will be given time to familiarise themselves and for systems to be fully tested. The interchange is scheduled to open in early June, allowing the necessary notice period for bus operators to change timetables.
A linked scheme to make Frodsham Street more pedestrian-friendly is now almost finished following a delay.
The bus interchange will replace Princess Street bus exchange to create space for the £300m Northgate Development retail scheme.
To manage 156 buses per hour, the interchange includes 13 bus stands with information screens providing passengers with live feed information regarding arrival times.
Amenities will include a barista who will provide hot drinks and snacks and there will be free wi-fi, a newsagent, information desk and public toilets with changing facilities.
Concerns around the tight curves within the compact interchange have been raised by bus drivers and members of the public.
During the trial, the council says both the bus and coach managed the tight horseshoe-shaped section of roadway within the bus station without incident.
But the access road, off the ring road, appears to have been more problematic as captured on camera by ex-bus driver Peter Jones, of St Anne’s Flats, Newtown.
Mr Jones says the bus didn’t have room to get past the coach when it was parked outside the first bay which he said would create chaos if this happened when the bus station opens.
Explaining what he witnessed, Mr Jones said: “The National Express coach only just got around due to an incredible steering lock on the vehicle but the park and ride vehicle had insufficient steering lock to get around without having to reverse.
“Once round the corner the park and ride bus was unable to get past the National Express coach which was already on its stand and thus would clog up the entrance and cause a tailback behind.
“I was unable to see if both vehicles negotiated the tight curve at the end of the bus station without having to reverse or not.
“They did not trial a double-deck bus at that time but I would say from experience as an ex-bus driver that it would have not got around either due to lack of steering lock.”
This isn’t the first time CWaC has struggled with bus station projects.
When the Princess Street bus exchange was given a make-over in 2013 the project was again late and the bright yellow bus shelters were fitted ‘the wrong way round’.
This meant the openings used by passengers to enter and exit the buses were in the wrong place.
CWAC council leader Cllr Samantha Dixon, who was in opposition at the time, described the revamp as ‘a shambles’.