Extended opening hours and a group ticket price were just some of the exciting new offers announced during a special showcase event at Colchester Park and Ride on Wednesday.
The announcements came following an in-depth survey of Colchester Park and Ride users, local residents and visitors to the area by Essex County Council to explore how best the Park and Ride could meet their needs travelling needs.
On Wednesday, Essex County Council Highways Cabinet Member, Cllr Ian Grundy, made a number of announcements at event also attended by Colchester MP, Will Quince; the Mayor of Colchester, Gerard Oxford; Patrick Maynard from the Essex Chambers of Commerce as well as a number of business leaders and councillors.
The County Council now plans to bring in a number of exciting proposals over the coming months.
- One year pilot of extended opening hours with buses running from 5.30am – 9pm (starting in Spring 2018)
- Bulk ticket discounts for businesses buying multiple tickets (immediately)
- A £5 off-peak group fare allowing up to two adults and up to three children to travel after 9am - this will be available as an online ticket from essex.gov.uk/parkandride (in the coming weeks)
Cllr Ian Grundy said: “We have listened to feedback from the public and I am delighted to be able to announce these new offers which we plan to introduce over the coming months.
“The Park and Ride is here to help tackle the issue of congestion around the town centre, which costs Colchester’s businesses and residents more than £20 million.
“More than four out of five Park and Ride users surveyed said they would recommend the service and we want to make it available to as many people as possible.
“Extended opening hours will look to help ease the stress of finding a parking space for those who drive to the railway station, hospital or work in the early hours of the morning or later in the evening. We will look to work with residents neighbouring the site to mitigate the effects of longer hours before they are implemented in spring 2018.
“Bulk business and group deals are aimed at those who have told us they would love to use the service but it does not offer value for money when travelling with friends, work colleagues or family.
“I would encourage anyone who has not tried it to come and try out this frequent premium bus service that offers easy access to Colchester General Hospital, Colchester railway station and the town centre in just 10 minutes.”
Colchester General Hospital became the first organisation to take advantage of the bulk ticket discounts on the day. The deal comes less than a year after a dedicated hospital stop was added to the Park and Ride route.
David Cohen, Capital Project Manager at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust is committed to improving travel options for staff, visitors and patients to the Colchester General site, particularly with the forthcoming closure of Essex County Hospital, and work undertaken in partnership with Essex County Council will enable us to further promote the use of Colchester Park and Ride.
“The bulk business deal means we can offer staff a reduced ticket rate and this is likely to significantly boost the use of the service, which together with the extended hours will help to reduce congestion on the roads around north Colchester.”