Park and Ride service for Romsey Road?

A Park and Ride bus service to the Romsey Road area of Winchester could be introduced next year if the City Council's Cabinet agree to spend £30,000 on a 6-9 month trial. They are looking for a further £25,000 from Hampshire County Council to help fund the experiment.

A report to Cabinet for its meeting on 15 December recommends setting up an experimental bus service during peak periods to link the St. Catherine's Park and Ride car park with the Romsey Road area, where the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Hampshire Police HQ, University College and Winchester Prison are located.

In his report the City Council's Director of Development Services Robin Cooper says the proposed service would operate at a 20-minute frequency during peak periods and would cost about £90,000 in a full year. Buses would turn in the forecourt of the hospital.

The report states that the level of usage of the additional service will clearly be critical and says if the usage was lower than 50 users per day, it would be difficult to justify a permanent service. With 50 users, it would only generate income of about £15,000 a year, so a significant subsidy would be needed for a permanent service.

Mr Cooper says the other potential limitation is that use of Park and Ride car parks has been increasing on a month by month basis since the St Catherine's extension opened in January 2004.

"Increases in season ticket charges for parking in the city centre have encouraged drivers to use Park and Ride as an alternative, and this trend is expected to continue. However, the potential number of Romsey Road users cannot be verified without an experimental bus service being introduced," the report goes on.

Sheila Campbell, Leader of Winchester City Council, added that the case for a second Park and Ride car park has been made.

"Bar End is not the ideal location as the Romsey Road users' car park because it is at the wrong end of town. Winchester desperately needs a new Park and Ride site in the Bushfield area and perhaps a third to the north of the City. As the facilities take Hampshire County Council at least three years to provide, they need to make some decisions so we can plan how to remove more cars from the centre of Winchester as soon as possible," she added.