Posted: Sun 26th Jun 2016

Aberystwyth Park And Ride Service Provision To Be Discussed

This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jun 26th, 2016

In a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 28 June 2016, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet will decide whether or not to renew the contract for the current Park & Ride (P&R) service in Abersystwyth. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Costing the Council £69,000 a year to run, the current P&R service operates a circular route in and around Aberystwyth town centre and includes Bronglais Hospital. As part of identifying efficiencies to achieve the necessary financial savings required, the P&R service has been highlighted as an area to be examined. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Many factors are being considered when discussing the service. Going into the Autumn of this year, the new Mill Street development will be operational, which will provide 555 town centre car parking spaces – double the previous number on the site – and these spaces will be free for up to three hours. This will drastically change the parking patterns in and around Aberystwyth and is very likely to impact on usage of the Park & Ride. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In addition, the current P&R service provides access to users of Bronglais Hospital via Caradog Road, avoiding the need to cross Penglais Road. However, in September of this year, Hywel Dda University Health Board will be closing this entrance for nine months or so during major hospital refurbishment works; any P&R service could not therefore operate via Caradog Road for that period. These factors are against a background of usage of the current service already being quite modest and needing subsidy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Alun Williams, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Carbon Management, said: “Tenders have recently been sought for various elements of the transport infrastructure, including a potential new P&R service in and around the town. No operator has shown an interest in running this as a commercial service, meaning that there would be a need for further subsidy.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He adds: “It obviously makes no sense to be throwing money at a service that is unable to operate as expected, especially at a time when parking patterns around the town are likely to be altering quite dramatically, with an expected reduction in the use of the Park & Ride car park. Central government cuts to council funding means that difficult decision have to be made if we want to maintain our services, however we remain open to working with bus companies and the hospital on any innovative solutions that can be brought forward. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Matthew Willis from Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We understand the Cabinet’s recommendation and whilst there is limited parking on the site, which we have maximised as much as possible, we would like to reassure patients and visitors that there are numerous other services which link up to connect to the hospital. Furthermore, we are currently reviewing access arrangements to the hospital and working with the Welsh Government and other agencies to provide safer crossing points at Penglais Road.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If the decision is not to renew the contract and terminate the service from the end of August, Ceredigion County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board will ensure information will be shared about other services available to the public and how they can best access the Penglais Road side of the hospital from locations in and around Aberystwyth. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The P&R service is part of the Council’s Transformation Programme, which is part of looking to make enforced savings of £8.7m this year (2016/17). ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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