CAR parking charges are to be introduced at an underused city park and ride site.
The trial approach is to be introduced at the Sealand Road park and ride where the £1.50 return fare will be replaced by a £2.50 car parking charge.
City transport chiefs agreed that if the system is successful, they would consider extending it to Chester’s other park and ride sites.
At present there is no charge for parking, the Town Hall’s parking services manager, David Bennett, told city and county councillors in a report.
The current full fare of £1.50 is set at a level to ensure two people travelling together are charged less on the park and ride than for parking in a city centre long stay car park for the average three- hour stay which costs between £3 and £5.
Advantages of the present system are that it is simple to use and can offer concessionary fares, says Mr Bennett.
Disadvantages are it is cheaper for full car loads to use the city centre car parks, park and ride sites can be used as a free local car park and people are able to devise their own park and ride arrangements.
With a parking charge, it is cheaper for full car loads, there are charges for the use of the park and ride site as a local car park and the move prevents people using their own park and ride.
Disadvantages include no concessionary fares, which it is acknowledged could discourage usage and the cost which could disadvantage single travellers.
Drivers would pay for a double ticket, one to display in their vehicle and the other to show to the bus driver.
Mr Bennett says that at present, a survey suggests that 48% of park and ride passengers travel alone and 44% are two people travelling together.
This would ‘undoubtedly change’ as the majority group of single passengers would be forced to pay the additional fare for their vehicles or move to another park and ride site.
He estimates that 40% of single travellers would move from Sealand Road to other park and ride sites.