Changes to the Essex County Council Park and Ride service in Colchester have today been announced by leading Councillors.
From Spring 2018, users of the service located off the A12 at J28 near the Weston Homes Community Stadium, will be able to take advantage of longer opening hours.
For a year’s trial, the new opening hours will be 5.30am to 9:00pm and will also see a new ‘park and fly’ scheme where users can take advantage of long-stay parking.
Colchester United fans will also be able to purchase a parking season ticket and student tickets may also be announced at a later date.
In addition to the change in operating hours, Essex County Council also confirmed a new group ticket will be available at a cost of £5 for those users who are sharing a car.
Bulk purchase tickets will also be available to businesses at discounted rates with Colchester General Hospital being the first customer to take advantage of the scheme.
Will Quince, MP (Con) for Colchester said “The changes have been a long time coming. I’d like to say thank you to Cllr. Grundy for taking the opportunity to make change in Colchester for the good of all Colchester users.
“These changes are good for rail users who currently spend £35 per week at the Colchester North Station car-park to park their car. These users will now have an opportunity to pay £3 per day thanks to the extended opening hours, saving £15 a week. This is a significant saving.
“These changes will also help those in the Town Centre who work longer hours. A new opportunity now exists to help ease congestion on the North Station roundabout and around the Town Centre and will hopefully encourage people to use Park and Ride.”
Colchester’s first Park and Ride site was opened in April 2015 offering a quick route into the Town Centre as a key component of the infrastructure in the Local Plan.
Cllr Ian Grundy (Con), Cabinet Member for Highways said: “I am looking forward to working with local business users and to helping cut congestion in Colchester which currently costs the local economy £20 million a year.
“Park and Ride Colchester has seen a 22% growth in passenger numbers this year compared to last. Every bus has the opportunity to remove 40 cars off the road.
“Essex County Council have bid for £1.2 million of funding to retrofit buses in Colchester, including Park and Ride buses to promote cleaner air.”
The £6 million service offers 1000 parking spaces at the site with the option available to expand to 1200 at a later date.
In its first year of trading, it was reported a loss of £600,000 was made with only 77,583 users taking advantage of the service.
It is hoped the extended opening hours and reduced group fares will encourage more people to use the service helping to reduce congestion in and around Colchester.