YOUR readers may be interested to know that November 23 is the 25th anniversary of Chester’s very successful Park & Ride Scheme.
In early 1983 the proposal for a Park & Ride Scheme was put to the then Conservative-controlled city council by myself (Con) and Cllr David Robinson (Lab) The proposal received lukewarm support and it is only due to the enthusiasm of David Clark (Transport Manager), Roger Vincent (Technical Services) and Roy Greenwood (County Highways) together with the support of Sainsburys PLC, Cheshire County Council and the then Leader of the Council Derek Owens-Kay that the scheme got off the ground.
In the first week of operation 220 cars used the scheme, rising to 2,000 in 1986. The scheme was operated by Chester City Transport and it was not unknown for David Clark to be out on a Saturday afternoon directing the traffic so as the P&R Buses could get through the traffic in Caldy Valley Road.
Five years ago, on the 20th anniversary Chester City Council gave free journeys on the P&R buses. This time there appears to be no plan to celebrate the longevity of the scheme.
The city council appear to have lost their support for the scheme as they are allowing some buses to run without the correct livery that distinguishes Park and Ride Buses from ordinary service buses and they are trying to take passengers away from Park and Ride by making parking free after 3pm in the city.
The whole philosophy of the “founders” was to remove as many cars from the city as possible by introducing a viable alternative. This has now been turned on its head.
JOHN M BUTLER