Bury St Edmunds to trial free park and ride bus service for town centre on Saturdays in run up to Christmas
A free park and ride bus service will be trialled in Bury St Edmunds on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas to test the level of interest and see if the long-called for initiative could be introduced permanently.
Bury St Edmunds Town Council, working with Mulleys, will run the service from West Suffolk Council’s Olding Road car park to bay nine at Bury St Edmunds bus station.
Operating on Saturday, December 12 and Saturday, December 19, the first pickup from Olding Road is at 8.30am and the last bus will leave the station at 7.30pm - with a bus arriving every 15 to 20 minutes at each location.
Both parking and the bus journeys will be free of charge.
Cllr Richard Rout, who proposed the initiative, said the aim was to encourage more people into the town centre and reduce congestion.
“The town centre is going through, as we all are, a really dark time with Covid-19 and so many of our businesses are struggling and equally visitors have lost money in their pocket,” he said.
“The first reason is to get more people into the town centre and frequenting those businesses. The second aspect is that we are in the middle of a climate emergency and we want to reduce congestion in the town centre.
“The park and ride has long been asked for and this seemed like a good time to trial it to see if there is interest, uptake and see what impact it has.”
The initiative will cost about £2,400 out of £7,500 allocated by the town council for schemes to promote the town over Christmas and encourage a shift away from cars including free cycle storage on the grounds of St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Cllr Rout said he would like to see a park and ride scheme ‘move forward’.
The park and ride has long been asked for and this seemed like a good time to trial it to see if there is interest, uptake and see what impact it has - Richard Rout
“We need to reduce congestion around the town centre and park and ride is something people are always asking for,” he said.
He thanked Mulleys, Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District and West Suffolk Council.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, added that park and ride has ‘worked successfully at the Christmas Fayre’ and the trial gives the chance to test it and ‘see the level of interest there is’.