Shuttle bus plans put forward to link hospital to Colchester’s park and ride

Colchester's park and ride terminal.

Colchester's park and ride terminal. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A shuttle bus has been proposed to link Colchester’s new park and ride scheme with the town’s general hospital.

Concerns have been raised since the planning stage that the park and ride (P&R) buses do not stop at Colchester General Hospital on their route into town, with councillors and even hospital chiefs calling for an extra stop to be added in.

However it was ruled out by Rodney Bass, Essex county councillor for transport, without a contribution from the health service to prevent the P&R car park becoming a free hospital car park.

Now Conservative members of Colchester Borough Council have suggested introducing a trial shuttle bus linking the car park with the hospital while a longer-term solution is found.

The proposal would see a trial 24-hour service run, with the pilot project paid for jointly by the borough and county council.

Longer-term work could continue to introduce a P&R stop on the Northern Approach Road, at the back of the hospital, though this could cost up to £500,000.

Dennis Willetts, Conservative group leader on the borough council, said: “Unlike the park and ride bus service, the shuttle could operate at all hours of the day, every day of the week, as and when required by patients, visitors and hospital staff.

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“It could deliver passengers to the door of the hospital, something that is impossible with the huge 72-seater P&R buses.”

Mr Willetts added that the group would make representations to County Hall about a feasibility study, while asking the hospital trust to provide a travel plan to justify the service.

Some councillors from other parties at the borough council have also pushed for the additional stop, including Liberal Democrat member Martin Goss who has even offered to contribute towards the cost himself.