A failing park and ride facility in Preston has been offered an extra two month lifeline.
County councillors say they want to give the Walton le Dale Park and Ride one more chance to prove its worth and make sure it is publicised well.
The council’s cabinet met yesterday (Thursday Dec 7) to consider a report on its future. The council had already given the service a six month extension after Rotala Preston Bus said it could no longer run it on a commercial basis.
Councillors agreed to extend the existing contract for a further two months to allow the council more time to develop proposals which might save it.
County Coun Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport told councillors that it would cost £7,100 for the extra weeks and it was felt this would give the opportunity “to advertise it a bit better”. He added: “Whatever the decision might be, it will be money well spent.”
He said if the facility was not used as a park and ride the council would still face costs keeping the depot going and paying business rates.
Council leader County Coun Geoff Driver said: “It’s worthwhile keeping it going on a trial basis, but it isn’t working - not enough people are using it.”
The council is seeking to cut the costs of maintaining the site, which is close to the M6 and M65, and encourage more people to park there. Buses run every 10 minutes during peak times and every 15 minutes at other times into Preston, reducing some potential traffic congestion in the city.
The annual cost of running the site and bus service is around £42,700 and the new contract will run until March 29.
• Parking at the site is free. An adult return fare costs £1.50 and a child return fare 75p. Weekly passes are also available. The service has extended its hours in the run up to Christmas on late night shopping evenings and Sundays. See ‘park and ride’ at www.lancashire.gov.uk for details.