A decision is to be taken later this month on the future of Scarborough’s park and ride service.
Following a public consultation, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive will be asked to consider a recommendation to close both of the town’s park and ride sites during the off-season.
The service was introduced in 2009 at sites on the A64 Seamer Road and the A165 Filey Road. Buses run every 15 minutes following a circular route, stopping at South Bay and York Place.
Initially, the service had a significant positive impact on congestion and in 2011 figures showed it had contributed to, on average, the removal of 500 vehicles a day from the town centre.
Since 2012, passenger numbers have steadily declined. In 2011-12, a combined total of 533,162 passengers used the two sites. By 2018-19, that had fallen to 284,021.The service cost £496,000 to run in 2018-19. The recommendation could produce savings of more than £150,000 a year.
This recommendation proposes that the park and ride service cease out of season from November 1 this year. It would then operate from April 1 to October 31 each year, except when Easter falls earlier than April 1, when it would operate from Good Friday. Consideration could also be given to operating on a limited number of days out of season for special events.
A public consultation on the recommended option and two others – closing both the Seamer Road site and the Filey Road site, and closing either the Seamer Road site or Filey Road site – was held earlier this year and received 560 responses. Of these, 60 per cent support closing both sites out of season.
Further recommendations seek to address points raised in the consultation. Investigation is recommended into the potential to generate revenue from parking charges for use of the sites, including overnight parking of motorhomes. Investigation is also recommended into other issues raised in the consultation, including promotion and publicity and cars parking at the sites for reasons other than using the park and ride service.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “This recommendation is being made because usage of the park and ride service has fallen dramatically during winter months over several years.
“It is poor value for money to provide a park and ride service during the off-season when it sees little usage. Currently during winter months, park and ride buses are operating empty, which is not good for the environment, quite apart from value for money considerations.
“We do appreciate how much the service is valued during the summer months and the tourism season and that’s why it is proposed to retain it at that time. The park and ride service is also a valuable asset in reducing congestion in the town during the tourism season.”
The Executive will consider the recommendations at its meeting on June 25.