«Campaign to Protect Rural England, Avonside branch Response to Bath Park and Ride Consultation October 2015 Summary CPRE Avonside is strongly opposed ...»
As it stands, Park and Rides can be used by anybody who has access to a car. The current pricing system of offering free parking and cheap bus travel will serve to attract those who might otherwise have left their car at home. A system which makes it more attractive for people to use their car to access the park and ride, rather than the bus the whole way, risks further undermining public transport. In other words they perceive it as cheaper to use the P&R than use a bus for the whole journey, as they may discount the cost of using their cars to get to the P&R site.
Lessons from the Brislington Park and Ride
Before the Brislington Park and Ride was opened, the bus lane was put in and in its own right increased bus ridership by 22%: a very good result without the car park. Once the car park was built, Bristol City Council interviewed people using it and found that nearly half had previously either gone the whole journey by public transport or would not have made the journey. In other words, car usage had increased. There have been a lot of unintended consequences with Park and Ride, people diverting in their cars sometimes driving out from within a city, only to go back in. Studies have found that they can actually increase car mileage and they can shift the traffic problem to the periphery.
Times have changed, the transport policy context has changed and we have (or should have) learnt that we cannot build the bypass to bypass the bypass. If you increase road space it fills up and the same is true of parking. What are we going to do when the East of Bath Park and Ride fills up in a year or two, build a bigger car park? Bath of all places should be able to do better than this. In the words of the Inspector of the A46 Public Inquiry, a park and ride in this area would be ‘a resting place for 823 (sic) cars and numerous buses which, whatever its merits, will despoil the valley fringe, affront the Georgian buildings close by and be a grave offence to the eye from the other side of the valley’.
As predicted in 1996, if you provide a service like Park and Ride, people will use it. They will fill up and need to be expanded which is exactly what has happened – Lansdown, Odd Down and Newbridge have all been expanded in the last 5 years. Is the end game an ever expanding ring of car parks on the periphery of a World Heritage Site?