More people use park-and-ride site

By Danielle NuttallA CONTROVERSIAL park-and-ride scheme has seen a 30% increase in passenger numbers, it has been revealed. Martlesham became the third Suffolk County Council park-and-ride site when it opened in November 2003 on land opposite Suffolk police headquarters.

By Danielle Nuttall

A CONTROVERSIAL park-and-ride scheme has seen a 30% increase in passenger numbers, it has been revealed.

Martlesham became the third Suffolk County Council park-and-ride site when it opened in November 2003 on land opposite Suffolk police headquarters.

But it attracted criticism after data showed the scheme had attracted less than half the amount of passengers predicted in the first year.


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However, new figures indicated the site saw a 30% growth in passenger numbers in November and December compared to the same period the previous year.

Suffolk County Council is now considering further ways to improve the scheme, including extra advertising and standardising the charges across all its park-and-ride sites.

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Ben Redsell, county councillor for Woodbridge, said: “I'm very pleased at the increase in patronage at Martlesham.

“Of course, the year-on-year figures from November to November are expected to be a considerable increase this year as it barely opened last year.

“This year the Christmas rush really did make a difference, but the most telling set of figures will be January, February and March and how much of an increase this is.”

He added: “I do believe Martlesham is beginning to improve in the way it should. However, this is in the large part due to a very vigorous marketing campaign, which has been very expensive.

“We want to try to bring the price down at Martlesham. What we are saying is one of the things we need to do is try to standardise fares for all three sites and adopt a clear strategy.”

The Martlesham site, which has space for 530 vehicles, cost £3.3million, including a £500,000 overspend for extra construction and archaeological work.

It aimed to attract 103,700 cars in the first 12 months, but figures released by the county council showed only 50,000 cars had used the site.

The latest position was revealed in a report to be discussed by the county council's overview and scrutiny committee on February 2.

It said: “The patronage on the Martlesham service has been very slow to develop and has fallen short of its predicted numbers in its first year of operation.

“The panel noted that additional resources had been allocated to intensive marketing of the site over the latter part of the year and that patronage is now growing at a rate comparable with the first year of operation of the other two sites.”

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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