Tories demand answers over the threat to Ipswich’s park and ride
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Conservative politicians in Suffolk are seeking urgent talks with the county council over the apparent threat to Ipswich’s park and ride service.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has said that he does see the reason the county has made the proposal to stop funding the park and ride service when the current contract runs out in three years’ time in a bid to save £712,000 a year.
However he did say he wanted many more talks to see whether there were alternatives – in 2014, according to the county’s own figures, the parks at Martlesham and Copdock were 76% and 67% full on average across the year.
That meant they took nearly 800 cars a day off the towns roads on average – and the figure is likely to be higher at the busiest times of the year.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said many of his constituents living outside the town had told him that they regularly used the park and ride centres.
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He said: “I shall be contacting the council to see what their proposals are and to see what alternatives there might be.
“I think park and ride is very valuable for the town and we need to look at whatever we can do to retain it.”
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And Mr Gummer’s father Lord Deben – who was Suffolk Coastal MP when the Martlesham park and ride centre opened in the constituency – also entered the debate via Twitter. He tweeted: “Park and ride essential part of modern traffic strategy. We should be seeking ways to increase use and extend policy.”
Other councils operate park and ride on a different basis to Ipswich.
In Oxford – which has a successful scheme operating from three parks – buses charge individual passengers, with a family ticket option, and also pick up at a limited number of stops on their way into the city centre
County council cabinet member for transport James Finch told the EADT on Saturday that, owing to budget constraints, the authority needed to look closely at services like park and ride “which are not currently self-sustaining and where there may be alternative options available.”