A 102-year-old Oakham resident was honoured to be awarded the privilege of giving the all aboard signal to bus passengers in Rutland.
Tommy Suthern, of Withers Close, cut the ribbon to officially open the new Oakham bus station in John Street yesterday.
Mr Suthern is Rutland’s only living Honoury Alderman, in recognition of his service to the county . He was twice Oakham mayor and also served on Rutland County Council.
He said the new facility which includes a canopy to provide shelter, new external lighting and indoor facilities such as new toilets and a place to secure bicycles, was “very smart”.
He said: “I was surprised when they asked me to open the station but I think it’s a great honour really.
“I think it’s very very smart and a big improvement on what was here.
“It’s really a great facility for the town and for the county.”
The new station, which cost £700,000 to build, £200,000 under budget, is part of the £4m Travel4Rutland project, funded by the Department for Transport.
The project also includes the ShoreLink service connecting Oakham and Uppingham to Rutland Water as well as the WorkLink service for local shift workers.
Services have been operating from a temporary base in Catmos Street for the past five months as construction work has taken place to build the new station.
Rutland County Council leader Coun Roger Begy (Con) gave a short presentation at the opening in front of crowds of people who had turned out.
He said: “This new bus station is absolutely brilliant.
“Passengers can now come and sit in the warm while waiting for their bus to arrive.”
He added: “It’s open for tourists, people coming to shop in Oakham and local residents.
“I cannot think of a better person to open the facility than Rutland’s only living Honoury Alderman.”
There was a positive response to the new station from bus passengers at the opening.
Janice Stanley, 68, from Lowther Close in Langham, catches buses from Oakham on a daily basis. She said: “I think it’s brilliant and a massive improvement.
“It will be much better in the colder months in the winter.”
Daniel Billsdon, 33, from College Close, Oakham, said: “It’s very smart and very trendy.
“I think it’s money well spent.”
Centrebus driver Steve O’Callaghan said: “It’s a nice place to stop off on long routes and much better for passengers. It’s a nice facility.”