ALMOST 60 per cent of Oxford Mail readers think more people would use the bus if park and rides were free.
In an online poll, 59 per cent of 1,441 readers believe if the service was free, more people would use it – while 40 per cent said it wouldn’t be the case.
The remaining one per cent voted ‘I don’t know’.
Combined parking and bus tickets for the service cost no more than £6.80.
Phil Southall, managing director at Oxford Bus Company, said it is hoped further incentives to encourage use of the park and rides will be introduced soon.
He said: “Our park and ride services are the most sustainable and cost-effective way for people to visit Oxford.
“We have ensured bus fares remain tremendous value for money and work in close partnership with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, who operate the park and ride car parks.
“The partnership enabled the introduction of joint ticketing deals and discounted season tickets, and we hope to be able to introduce further incentives in the near future to support the recovery of the park and ride, and to encourage more people to travel to Oxford sustainably.”
A city council spokesperson added: “Oxford’s five park and rides, operated by the city and county councils, in partnership with ODS [Oxford Direct Services], offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to driving into the city.
“Users can take advantage of combined parking and bus tickets for families, and those who visit regularly may wish to buy discounted season tickets.
“We believe the charges at the park and ride sites provide competitive parking rates, and beat the misery of queuing for city centre parking places.”
A spokesperson for the county council said parking charges and ticketing at the park ride sites is something kept under review.
At the county council’s meeting on April 5, councillor Liam Walker put forward a motion which called for free parking at park and ride sites.
The motion read: “This council recognises the need to improve public transport in Oxfordshire to reduce emissions, tackle congestion and make sure our bus services are more sustainable.
“Park and ride sites are important transport hubs in Oxfordshire helping to reduce the need to drive into Oxford city.”
The motion then called for the establishment of a cross-party task force to ‘explore the viability’ of marking parking free at park and rides.
The motion also requested writing to the leader of the city council, Susan Brown, to ask the local authority to join the cross-party task force.
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