Combined tickets at a cheaper price for council-run park and ride services in Oxford will be trialled from the end of September.
The cabinets at Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council have agreed to a £4.00 all-in ticket for single passengers and £5.00 for more than one passenger, prices that will be kept under review during the initial six-month trial.
A new 16-hour parking ticket will also be available after complaints that users had to pay more for marginally going past the old 11-hour threshold.
It is in response to what the city council described as “dramatically reduced” use in a report that revealed passenger numbers at the start of the current financial year were still 25 per cent down on those recorded in 2019/20.
Oxfordshire County Council runs the park and ride services at Water Eaton (Oxford Parkway) and Thornhill, while Oxford City Council manages the Seacourt, Pear Tree and Redbridge sites. Each works with private bus companies to run the scheme.
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The councils will forgo 40 per cent of its share of the revenue, receiving £1.20 per ticket instead of £2.00.
The county council admits it is “difficult to estimate” the financial impact, particularly with the authorities hoping that some of the difference could be made up by increased use, but says it could miss out on £105,000.
Councillor Duncan Enright (Lab, Witney North & East), the county’s council’s cabinet member for travel and development strategy, said: “I am very pleased to say we will be introducing, alongside our partners at Oxford City Council and the bus companies, a very competitive and compelling joint charge for bus and parking.
“After the pandemic, use of park and rides has been slow to build, as it has been on a number of other public transport routes.
“We know that park and ride offers a really great option for people who want to travel by public transport but live out in the county and perhaps don’t have the most regular service where they live. It is quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly to use the park and ride.
“We anticipate in years to come, in line with the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan, that we will be reimagining the role of park and ride, thinking about all sorts of options such as charging centres, which have already begun at the city council site at Redbridge, and shared transport with scooter or e-bike hire.
“At the moment, it is about coming up with something that we hope is going to work, particularly over the Christmas period, for people across the county to make use of our existing park and ride facilities. It is the cheapest, best and most environmentally friendly way of spending time in our beautiful city.”