Cambridge Park & Ride passenger numbers increase after controversial charge scrapped

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Bus operator Stagecoach East says there was a 10.6% year-on-year rise in the number of people using Cambridge’s Park & Ride services during May.

The increase follows Cambridgeshire County Council’s decision to remove a £1 parking charge which had been imposed at the city’s five Park & Ride sites in 2014. It led to a 15% drop in the number of people using the Park & Ride service, and was scrapped in April.

Andy Campbell, Managing Director of Stagecoach East, said the figures were ‘encouraging.’ “We applaud the council for making this bold move,” he said.

“Local people vote with their feet, and so the take-home message has got to be that relatively small changes can make a big difference to passengers’ experience and therefore their transport choices.

“If, as a city, we’re serious about making public transport an attractive option for addressing congestion and air quality, then we have to think carefully about the smaller details as well as the big picture.”

The charge was dropped after the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) agreed to split the cost of the shortfall in funding with the county council. The arrangement will be reviewed after three years.

Speaking to the News in March, Francis Burkitt, then chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, said: “Parking should be free at these important transport interchanges, to encourage people to get out of their cars and use public transport: buses, the guided bus or, in time hopefully, autonomous shuttles and the CAM Metro championed by the Combined Authority.

“It’s absolutely right that the GCP should use its resources to stimulate and encourage more modal shift in this way.”