A proposal by the County Council would see a £1-a-day fare replace free travel for elderly and disabled people in a bid to save £200,000
Free travel on Guildford park-and-ride services could end for bus pass users
08:48, 5 AUGUST 2015
BY NATASHA SALMON
Free travel on Guildford park-and-ride services could end for bus pass users in an effort to save the council £200,000.
A proposal by Surrey County Council would see a £1-a-day fare replace free travel for elderly and disabled people from the car parks at the Spectrum, Artington, Merrow and Onslow.
Councillor Mike Goodman, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “As fares only cover half the costs, Guildford’s park-and-ride is being subsidised to the tune of £600,000 annually, so we are considering a change to help keep it running and while no firm decision has been reached, if this proposal goes ahead, concessionary pass holders will still be able to make all their trips on local buses free.”
A public consultation will run until Tuesday, September 1 and the changes will not affect other buses.
Wendy Thompson, 76, has been using the park-and-ride service for more than 15 years and is unhappy with the proposed change.
Mrs Thompson said: “This would be a shame but I would reluctantly pay, to avoid battling the town traffic and high parking fees.”
Mark Worley, member of a Surrey bus user group, said there may be some benefits in a change to promote other bus services in the area.
He said: “It would not be entirely a bad thing if some passengers switched to conventional bus services where that is practical.
“Bus operators are reimbursed for every free journey made on a concessionary bus pass so any increase in the use of local bus services would strengthen their viability.
“Also, using local bus services door-to-door has less environmental impact than driving to a park-and-ride site and then taking the bus.”
To have a say on the proposed changes, visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/parkandride to complete the online survey or, to request a paper copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 0300 2001003.