Park and ride numbers defended

THE performance of the new park and ride site at Martlesham was defended yesterday after a survey revealed an average of three people were using each bus outside peak periods.

By Richard Smith

THE performance of the new park and ride site at Martlesham was defended yesterday after a survey revealed an average of three people were using each bus outside peak periods.

Research conducted by the East Anglian Daily Times showed that the new buses going in and out of Ipswich every 12 minutes from the site off the junction of the A1214 and the A12 were almost empty.

During a three-hour period the maximum number of people on a bus was six, and on some occasions buses coming back from Ipswich had no passengers.


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The buses can hold a maximum of 41 seated and 21 standing passengers – but the nine drivers never had a problem fitting in the passengers during a three-hour period from 10.30am to 1.30pm on Tuesday.

A total of 30 buses were counted and they carried 90 passengers, 53 of whom were going into Ipswich and the rest were coming back from the town. Five young children used the service.

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The car park, which has a capacity of 530 vehicles, was also largely empty. There were just 60 cars there when the survey started.

Suffolk County Council said, when the site opened on November 11, that it would attract 103,700 cars in the first year.

A spokeswoman said yesterday: ''The park and ride at Martlesham has been making steady progress since it opened in November.

''The Christmas shopping trade at Martlesham was extremely positive with over 390 cars using the service on the busiest days, this equates to over 1,000 passengers. Regular commuter trade is also building at a steady rate; 60% of our passengers use the service between 7am and 11am, which alleviates traffic congestion at the busiest times.

''As customers appreciate the advantages of the service the sale of Smartcards has increased – to date over 150 of the multi-journey cards have been sold at Martlesham in the nine weeks since it opened.

''Each vehicle parked at a park and ride car park is one less car on the road in Ipswich town centre.''

The council was unable to provide figures for Tuesday but gave a comparable day, Monday January 5, when there were 144 cars with about 400 passengers.

The park and ride at Martlesham was the third to open in the Ipswich area – the others being in Bury Road and London Road.

From the Martlesham site, it costs £3.20 for a group of up to five people travelling together on any day of the week, and £1.90 for a one way ticket if you need to return alone after travelling in a group.

SURVEY RESULTS

January 20: Into Ipswich

10.37am – 4 passengers

10.49am – 2

11am – 6

11.12am – 5

11.24am – 3

11.36am – 4

11.48am – 5

12pm – 1

12.12pm – 3

12.24pm – 4

12.36pm – 4

12.53pm – 2

1.12pm – 1

1.29pm – 5

1.36pm – 4

Returning from Ipswich:

10.47am – 2 passengers

11am – 0

11.05am – 0

11.23am – 4

11.34am – 3

11.45am – 4

11.58am – 1

12.14pm – 4

12.16pm – 0

12.34pm – 2

12.45pm – 6

1pm – 1

1.11pm – 6

1.20pm – 1

1.34pm – 3

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