Low park and ride figures add to congestion worries

22 December 2016

As few as 85 cars on average are using the park and ride at Cardiff City Stadium on a normal weekday, figures show.

This is barely 10% of the capacity of the 820-space facility, which has seen a drop in revenue for the last three years.

It comes with concern growing in Grangetown about increased traffic congestion and parking pressures from commuters and shoppers using residential streets.

Grangetown Community Action asked Cardiff City Stadium – which owns and manages Cardiff West park and ride – for figures, which when calculated show the low usage and a slight drop in each of the last three years.

Stadium officials called it “disappointing considering it’s an excellent service.”

Meanwhile, the council-run Cardiff East park and ride at Pentwyn – which cost £4m when it opened in 2009 – is averaging 232 cars a day this year. This is less than a quarter of capacity – and a 41% drop on the number of cars using it four years ago.

These figures were provided to us after a Freedom of Information request.

The council is currently consulting on its city transport strategy – setting out how to deal with rising travel demands as the city grows. Already 80,000 people commute into Cardiff from outside the city every day – 80% of them by car.

As well as the proposed Metro and improved cycling, the document outlines a potential £5m park and ride at junction 33 of the M4 in Cardiff North to take the strain of motorists commuting from the south Wales valleys and the A470.

Grangetown councillors have responded to our park and ride figures by calling for a campaign – including possible incentives – to get more drivers to park and use the bus instead.

“We need to find out from commuters why they are not using them and what if required we can do to make it a more attractive option,” said Labour councillor Lynda Thorne.

“I believe Highways already manage traffic lights along certain routes to try to dissuade people from using certain roads. But we need to do much more so that communities like ours are not used as parking lots.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Tariq Awan also said he was “very disappointed” to learn about the park and ride figures, adding that parking was a “big menace” to Grangetown residents and was something he witnessed daily.

And with a particular message in days ahead, he added: “I would request all shoppers respect residents’ parking needs and utilise the park and ride services being provided as much as possible.”

Cardiff West’s best month over the last three years was in December 2014 when around 200 cars a day used it. The quietest month was April 2015 when only 44 cars a day used the facility.

Both councillors called for better publicity for park and ride facilities – including on local websites and social media.

Councillor Thorne added: “We need a focused campaign for at least six months with the Council working with business to come forward with ideas to make the park and ride a more attractive option – perhaps providing some sort of incentive, while at the same time putting more resources into parking offences and the we need to have a really high profile marketing campaign.

“It’s all about changing people’s habits and ensuring what’s on offer is as good as if not better than their current practice.”

Cardiff West charges £4 per single driver or £5 for a group with No 95 buses to Canal Street in the city centre running every 15 minutes from 8.24am to 6pm. More details here.

The Cardiff East facility charges a cheaper early bird fare, for those parking up before 8.30am, with the last bus back from Churchill Way at 7.30pm. More details here.

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