Passengers will be able to use Chester’s park and ride services for free, all day, on the first Saturday in December.
Cheshire West and Chester Council announced the news to show support for Small Business Saturday, on December 3, a nationwide celebration of small businesses and traders.
Park and ride services were re-routed to operate cross-city during the summer and now offer a choice of stops in addition to the city centre. More information about timetables and routes is available on board, or on the council’s website.
The fleet of 12 new buses feature climate control, free 4G wi-fi, free USB charging premium quality seats, designed for superior passenger comfort and the latest enviro clean engine technology.
Park and ride services will also be extended during the festive shopping period. To coincide with late night shopping in Chester, every Thursday, the last bus from the city will be around 9pm instead of 7pm.
Times will vary for each of the sites and timetables will show exact departure times. In addition, from Monday, December 19, the last bus for the remainder of the week will be around 8.15pm.
The initiatives have been put together by the council’s parking services team, part of Regulatory Services.
The council’s Cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “We are proud to support our small businesses and we hope these initiatives will give them a boost during Small Business Saturday and the rest of the festive season.”
Chester residents and city visitors are being encouraged to explore the ‘hidden gems’ within the city centre this weekend in support of a national campaign that aims to boost small and independent business trade in the UK.
Meanwhile, the city’s Business Improvement District (BID), CH1ChesterBID, is urging people to ‘shop local’ and support the city’s small and independent retail business community.
A special video highlighting some of the city’s unique and boutique retailers has been created by CH1ChesterBID. The video features businesses such as the award-winning restaurant Chef’s Table, toy shop Weasel & The Bug, and the recently opened Booth Mansion on Watergate Street.
Carl Critchlow, BID manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “Chester is home to some amazing small and independent businesses and we want to use Small Business Saturday to really put them in the spotlight.
“We’ve got so many hidden gems here in the city centre. They are a key part of what makes Chester such a unique shopping destination and we’re encouraging people to get behind Small Business Saturday and explore some of Chester’s boutique stores this Saturday and beyond.
“The campaign begins in the first weekend of December, so it’s the perfect opportunity to start some Christmas shopping and we’re challenging people to wander off the beaten track and perhaps take a look in a shop, restaurant or bar they’ve never been to before.
“Small and independent businesses are woven into the fabric of Chester city centre – they’re the reason many people come here to visit – but the strength of this community relies heavily on the support of customers. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to champion them and encourage local residents and visitors to get behind our small and independent traders Chester and shop local.”
The Small Business Saturday tour bus visited Chester in the middle of November with the Sheriff of Chester, Cllr Myles Hogg, and Shadow Small Business Minister, Bill Esterson, attending to help raise awareness of the campaign.
Last year an estimated £623 million was spent with small businesses across the UK on the day – up £119 million on the previous year and an increase in spending of 24%.
For more information about Small Business Saturday, visit https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/
To explore the range of small and independent businesses in Chester, visit http://www.experiencechester.co.uk/what-to-do/