Council cashes in on park and ride’s first year

Whitby Park and Ride.Picture Richard Ponter 142327

Whitby Park and Ride.Picture Richard Ponter 142327

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Whitby’s Park and Ride scheme has been hailed a success after breaking even financially during its first year of operation.

Figures released exclusively to the Whitby Gazette this week show the £3.6 million scheme is in the black.

After taking to the road in April and finishing at the end of October the park and ride has carried 131,438 passengers – or the equivalent of almost 66,000 return journeys into Whitby.

The busiest period was the August bank holiday weekend, when just under 6,000 passengers used the service.

The total operational costs for this first season have come in at £295,000.

But they have been offset by fare takings which stand at almost £120, 000 and additional revenue from pay and display parking which raised £180, 000.

The sale of permits and scratchcards to enable local parking raised £40, 000.

Chris Metcalfe, is North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Passenger Transport.

He said: “This has been a tremendous result for Whitby.

“Inevitably there was the odd teething problem, but overall the scheme has done what we hoped it would – allowed tourists to continue to experience the delights and attractions of Whitby, while cutting down dramatically on the number of vehicles clogging up the streets of the town.”

The long-awaited scheme, was put on the back-burner four years ago when the economic crisis hit.

Local councillors kept campaigning for it to be introduced and work eventually got underway last year at the site on the A171 on the outskirts of town.

Cllr Joe Plant said it had been “phenomenally” successful while David Chance, the borough council’s tourism spokesperson, added it had made significant improvements to the town infrastructure.

He said: “Experience showed that there is a small amount of fine tuning needed on a couple of bus timings, but that is something that is easily addressed. Other than that, the scheme has been brilliant.”

The final cost of construction for the Park and Ride terminus and the associated roadworks is expected to be £3.6million with £2.8million coming from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

An additional benefit of the scheme has been improved road safety at the notorious Cross Butts Farm junction.