Essex County Council wants to hear from Chelmsford Park and Ride users on ticket options, fares and opening days as part of a consultation that launches today, Monday 21 January 2019.
We need to ensure the current service is fit for purpose and best meets the needs of those that use it, while also ensuring value for money for Essex taxpayers.
These services are continually under review with the aim of maximising the benefits while keeping the cost to the taxpayer as low as possible.
The proposals not only address changes in passenger journeys, but also follow feedback from the recent Park and Ride survey in summer 2018 which indicated that parents would like a change to the children's ticket and passengers would like discounted tickets.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Cllr Kevin Bentley said: “We understand that the Park and Ride Services in Chelmsford are important for many people.
“We want to ensure that those of you that use the Park and Ride are getting the best possible deal, service and experience. We also need to demonstrate value for money, which is why we are reviewing the service.
“As well as looking at passenger numbers, we have taken on board feedback from residents and have reflected this within the proposals.
“These proposals aim to create a more efficient service by addressing a shortfall in users at Chelmer on a Saturday. They also look to benefit young people by extending the age for a child ticket as well as introducing discount ticket offers for all."
“I am really keen to hear from you as part of the consultation so that we can ensure we have a service that meets the needs of residents in the most effective way."
The consultation proposes the below;
- Raise the child ticket age from 16 to 18. Currently children are required to stay in education or training until 18 but are charged adult price for a P&R ticket from age 16. The proposed change would better reflect this and would encourage parents to drop their children at park and ride sites rather than drive into Chelmsford.
- A discounted ticket offer when tickets are purchased digitally through an app (12 tickets for the price of 11). Digital ticketing helps customers board more quickly compared to a contactless card payment. Park and Ride tickets are already available through First's ticketing app.
- Closure of Chelmer Valley Park and Ride on Saturdays. Sandon would remain open for customers wishing to use Park and Ride and would run on a loop route around the city centre. Despite a reduced adult fare of £1.50 on a Saturday and promotion of the service, passenger numbers from Chelmer Valley on a Saturday are low compared with numbers Monday to Friday.
At the Chelmer Valley site on average 394 passengers use it each Saturday, which means that 60% of the spaces are unused. This compares with an average of 1,285 on a weekday.
- Remove the ticket machines on site as they reach end of life from 2019 and continue to allow cash fares to be taken on bus.
- An inflationary fare increase.
Full details of the proposals can be found at the consultation web pages that will go live at 9am today.
The consultation will run from 21 January until 22 March 2019 (8 weeks) and can be accessed here.
Paper copies will also be available at both sites as well as on request by emailing email@example.com.
Following the consultation we will consider the responses and make an announcement of how we intend to proceed in summer 2019.