Reopening of Park and Ride service will contribute to Council's green travel plans

16 July 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council will partially reopen its Park and Ride services in Chester from Saturday 18 July.  The Park & Ride service plays an essential role in reducing car dependence and promoting carbon-efficient travel.

Following the launch of its Walk, Ride, Thrive initiative, the Council is committed to boosting active travel and green initiatives as it re-establishes services and supports the high street during the continuing pandemic.

The Council wants to support the many people who have taken up alternative methods of transport recently and move away from dependency on cars and towards being a shared space for all - pedestrians, cyclists, and cars.

Strict safety measures will be in place on the Park & Ride service to protect both the travelling public and drivers and there have been changes to routes.

Initially services will operate cross-city between Wrexham Road and Boughton Heath only.  The stop on Foregate Street on this route will not be in use due to social distancing measures introduced in the city centre.

Covid-secure measures on board each bus include perspex screens to separate the driver and passengers, reduced operating capacity (which will be managed at the sites during busy times), compulsory wearing of a face covering or mask by passengers and contactless payments only.  At the Park and Ride sites signage will remind customers to socially distance when queuing for the service.

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “Our Park & Ride service is being reinstated following the Council’s careful and cautious approach to the reopening of services during the on-going pandemic.

“Coronavirus has not gone away and initially the service will be only partially reinstated.  Please plan ahead to allow extra time for your journey, use the Stagecoach app to book your ticket in advance or be ready to make a contactless payment, and try to travel outside of peak times if possible.

“Please play your part and follow current social distancing and hand hygiene advice if you wish to use the service.

“To support the Council’s Walk-Ride-Thrive initiative, we will be improving the sites to include enhanced cycle storage facilities for anyone wishing to continue their journey into the city by bike.”

A Stagecoach spokesperson said: “Our first priority is the health and well-being of our employees and customers. We’re encouraging people to use contactless, as the majority of our customers are now using contactless and other digital forms of payment.  If you need to pay by cash to replace a lost ticket, we will only be accepting exact change.  As we are unable to give you change at this time we will be donating any leftover change, where customers have paid more than the exact fare, to the NHS COVID-19 appeal, a charity supporting NHS staff and volunteers. If you would like to buy a ticket in advance simply download the Stagecoach Bus app.

“We have in place extensive enhanced measures to keep our buses clean and our passengers and staff safe. This includes rigorous daily and in-service cleansing with focus on key touch points.  Our buses have protective screens to provide a physical barrier between the driver and passenger. Face coverings are mandatory and will give passengers the confidence to travel.

“By making these changes to how they use public transport, passengers will be helping our own key worker drivers and supporting the national effort to keep us all safe."

More information about exact fares can be found on the Stagecoach website.

Timetables and further information on the partial Park and Ride service is on the Council’s website.

To help improve Park and Ride journey times, bus lane enforcement against unauthorised vehicles using the lanes will begin again on Monday 3 August.  Prior to this date only warning letters will be issued but actual Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) will arrive through the letterboxes of offenders after that date.

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