Labour Councillors Challenge Decision to End Park & Ride
Labour motions have been tabled for the full council meetings of both the Worcester City and Worcestershire County councils on 2nd and 3rd July which say that “We believe that the impact on the city's employers, employees, local residents, hospital workers, school children, students, users of health services, shoppers, potential tourists and other visitors will be harmful to both the city and county economies. “
Paul Denham, city and county councillor for Rainbow Hill, said “The full potential of P&R is not being realised because the service is not properly advertised. The cheapest council car park costs £3.60 to park all day but park & ride is only £2.20 return including parking. A weekly P&R ticket is only £8. Many more visitors to Worcester would use P&R if they knew this. The county subsidises the W1 (Perdiswell and City Centre) service by 56 pence per passenger. Putting the price up by 56p would still be cheaper than parking in the city centre. About two-thirds of P&R passengers do not park cars at Perdiswell. They use P&R buses because they are much cheaper than the First buses which have single fares of £2.20 or £3.70 return.”
Joy Squires, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Worcester, added, “My vision for Worcester is that it should attract both employment and tourism. Surveys have repeatedly shown that traffic and congestion are the top concerns of Worcester residents and this will deter both employers and tourists. The county council is making a big mistake removing park & ride when it could easily be run on a commercial basis.”
The head office of Sanctuary Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations is in Worcester. It is building extra offices in Farrier Street which will provide 500 more jobs, an increase of more than 50%. No extra parking is provided and the firm’s travel plan provides staff discounts on the P&R service so they can get to work.
Residents living in central areas of the city who already find it difficult to park near their homes will face added pressure if park & ride users decide to drive into the city and park on residential streets.
County Leader of Labour’s opposition group, Peter McDonald, said, “The county Tory leadership know the cost of everything, but don’t look at the bigger picture. The county is responsible for planning to reduce the severe, health-threatening pollution caused by vehicle exhaust emissions in three Air Quality Action zones in Worcester. They have done nothing since they were told about this several years ago. Removing P&R and forcing more cars into the city centre makes this worse, not better”