Park & Ride Review 2014/15 – Consultation on emerging recommendations
As you may know the Council has been reviewing the operation of the existing Winchester Park and Ride service in preparation for a tendering exercise that will lead to a new contract starting in 2016. The process so far has included a comprehensive survey of all Park and Ride users to establish their views on a range of ideas and options. The decision on what parameters to include in the tender will be for elected Members to decide upon. The Park and Ride service exists to serve the needs of the town and we wish to make it as effective as we can within the inevitable financial constraints.
Based on the survey data and our own evaluation of the existing operation, and taking into account the financial constraints that exist, the principles on which we may make our recommendations to Members are as follows:
- Passenger capacity: Bus size & Frequency (timetabling)
that the inclusion of contract tender options which would allow for increased capacity and more regular buses by –
- the use of large single decked buses rather than double decked (as more double decked buses are required to provide the same bus frequency)
- increase peak time bus frequency from 10 minutes to 8.5 minutes
- increase off-peak bus frequency from 15 minutes to 12 minutes
- Bus Route Variations & options
We are not likely to propose any changes to the existing routes. The existing routes work well and we know that part of the attractiveness of the Park and Ride facility to customers is that the service is direct and reliable.
- Air quality & Environmental Considerations
We intend to include options in the tendering process that include both re-using the existing Euro V buses and the provision of new Euro VI buses which produce even lower emissions. The use of hybrid vehicles, of which the bus operators have relatively little experience, would appear to require funding beyond our likely budget capabilities whilst producing small additional environmental benefits but may be included as an option to ensure that this is tested
- Additional or ‘Extra’ Park and Ride services
That permanent provision of extra buses for enhanced Christmas operations and special events will be incorporated into the tender specifications.
- Evening Park and Ride Bus Services
Our current thinking is that the Park and Ride service will operate until 19:30. After this time the level of use is so low (only 2 or 3 passengers are usually carried per bus) that given the need to limit contract costs it is hard to justify the cost per passenger.
- Use of Park and Ride buses for regular passenger transport use
It is suggested that the Park and Ride buses will allow carriage of non-Park and Ride users so long as the additional passenger loadings do not affect the reliability of the bus service or the capacity of the bus to carry Park and Ride users. In practice this means that we will continue operations with this flexibility but may withdraw it if it becomes problematic.
- Sunday Operation
Except for Christmas peaks and special events the Park and ride service will not operate on a Sunday.
- Ticket Costs, Fees and Discount levels
Our current thinking is that pricing would be based upon the following principles:
the current two-part basic ticket method is continued.
the maximum daily fee is kept at approximately half the price of the cheapest full day town centre charge
the off-peak ticket price be set at the same level or below that for two hours parking in town
discounts be continued on the basis of 10% for smartcards and 20% for season tickets
That the maximum discount given to large organisations is set at 30% of the daily charge
As an organisation which will have park and ride users amongst your employees or service users I would be very grateful for any observations or comments you would like to offer on these points, or any other aspects of the park and ride operation so that we can consider these before reporting to Members.
Please provide your responses to DMassey@WINCHESTER.GOV.UK by the 17 March 2015.