Wednesday 30 October 2013

Parcio a Theithio [Un]


It was a correspondent, Barry Vinkie, (no, fbb has no idea; he thinks it's an anglicised version of a Latvian name?) who set the fbb investigative hormones on alert. "You should have a look at Cardiff," he wrote, "our experience was very mixed."
There are three park and rides (parks and ride? parks and rides?) serving the Welsh capital. "South" operates from the County Hall at Cardiff Bay.
It runs on Saturdays (when the car park is bereft of County Hall employees) and on certain Sundays in the run up to Christmas. It is the closest to the city centre.
Bearing in mind the impending Jubilee on 23rd November, it may be worth pointing out that this location is also very close to the now-closed headquarters of Torchwood.
Back to sanity!

Park and Ride "West" is run by Cardiff City Football Club and uses the parking adjacent to their Leckwith stadium.
It is open on Mondays to Fridays only and should be popular with commuters - only it wasn't, apparently; and now never can be. The local press explains why.

Commuters left raging
Cardiff park and ride scraps early buses
The Cardiff West park-and-ride scheme at Leckwith now starts at 9.45am instead of 7.30am daily, leaving commuters complaining it’s harder for them to get to work on time. A Cardiff council spokeswoman said: “The West park-and-ride is owned and run by Cardiff City Football Club and operation times are set by them. Sadly, despite the best efforts of the council and Cardiff City to publicise the service, take-up figures for the service before 9.45am was very low.”

The buses from "West" are operated by Cardiff Bus.

Leaving aside the article's bad grammar (either "take-up figures were" or "take-up was"), this site was of little use to Barry who was arriving from the east.

All three sites are priced the same; parking is £3 and the bus to the city centre is free. As an added Brucie-bonus, early parkers at "East" only pay £1. Sadly Barry arrived too late in the day to avail himself of the cheapo offer and this coughed up his £3 and rode on one of First's finest into the city.
Not quite "finest", actually, as two sets of double seats were roped off as being unsafe!

Despite this slightly off-putting vehicle, the supervised parking is easily accessed off the main A48 ...

... and £3 is buckets cheaper than parking in the most central multi-storeys!

The service appears well-used:-
It was coming back in the evening where the problems began to appear.
fbb "did lunch" yesterday with Mrs fbb at the Mustard Seed caff and Christian bookshop in Sidmouth.

Excellent ploughman's and pot of tea at about £6; Mrs enjoyed her bacon sarnie. fbb made a brief post-prandial visit to "the facilities" and was impressed with the desire of the management to make customers feel at home. None of this sweet-smelling loo namby-pamby nonsense, because parked on the cistern was ...

.. a large jar of Febreze professional toilet odour. Pootiful! fbb did not sample the product! 
 Next Bus Blog : Thursday 31st October 


  1. Cardiff's Park and Ride's cost the taxpayer huge sums of money every day and do not achieve their stated objectives.

    All day parking is available form £5 a day and 3 hours parking costs just £4 at the shopping centre (approx 3,000 spaces).

  2. Thanks for that, Ian. Both are still more expensive than park and ride (although much less so than I had thought). Traffic hassle may also be a factor. My view, as an outside observer is that P & R has to be cheaper than £3 and have at least a bus every 10 min (with sufficient slack to have a vehicle always waiting at the stops) to be really attractive. York seems to be popular and work well.

  3. To work properly Park and Ride needs to be effectively integrated into a Car Parking and wider Integrated Transport Strategy. Problems arise if the accounting/management of Park and Ride and town centre car parks is separated and they end up fighting for the same patronage (revenue). In the current economic climate that has happened in some cases.

    This may also be because in some towns a significant percentage of town centre parking is under the control of shopping centres not the council. It can also be a problem where the local (District/Borough) Council is not the Highway/Transport Authority.

    I recall that the TAS Partnership produced a review of UK Park and Ride some years ago which recommended 15 minutes as the minimum frequency.

    In my experience in the south east Park and Ride peak use was growing up until about four years ago. It was then that many small firms, shops etc began to cut back on staff and numbers began to decline. The off peak increasingly became OAP pass holders and overall revenue then dropped by around 8% per annum.

    With the ongoing expectation in local government that costs can continuously be reduced and revenue increased (shout louder Tesco fashion) I won't be surprised if Park and Ride is cut back or withdrawn in some places in the future.