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Plenty Of Room, For The Moment, At New 550 Space Park and Ride Site

Published on: 20 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2013

Onslow Park & Ride Open 4 475The £4 million Onslow Park and Ride car park, opened for use just over a week ago, remains practically empty. But Conservative councillors say it is too early to look at usage and they are confident that it will soon be well used.

Just before 9am this morning (November 20) there were 13 cars in the 550 space car park, located by the Surrey Sports Park off Egerton Road. The attendant said average occupancy over the first week had been around 16 cars.

Onslow Park & Ride Open 3 475

Ten cars grouped near the temporary waiting room.

A special introductory fare offer of £1.50 return, 30p cheaper than Merrow Park and Ride and 70p cheaper than those at Artington and Spectrum, has failed, so far, to have created any significant demand.

A weekly ticket for the new car park can be bought for only £6, but a ticket for four weeks would cost £30 (£28 online), the standard price(s) for weekly tickets at all four of Guildford’s Park and Ride locations.

Room for a mini.

Looking south  – plenty of room for the moment.

Widening of the nearby Egerton Road was carried out mainly to cater for increased traffic going to and from the new car park. But it is widely acknowledged that the replacement of the roundabout with traffic lights has improved traffic flows at the junction which serves the Royal Surrey County Hospital, the Surrey Research Park, Surrey Sports Park and Park Barn.

When plans were discussed at a council planning meeting, in November 2012, concerns were expressed that without direct access to the car park from the A3 there would be little attraction to motorists entering Guildford from the west because of the time taken to reach the car park.

A bus for one.

A bus for one. They run every 15 minutes.

Once in the car park, users wait a maximum 15 minutes for a bus to take them into Guildford. The first part of the route retraces the route to the car park. Stagecoach, who operate the park and ride bus services, estimate the journey time from Onslow Park and Ride to the bus station takes 10 minutes, subject to traffic.

County Councillor Mark Brett-Warburton said: “The new Onslow Park and Ride has only been open for a few days now and will need time to build up business, so it is really too early to look at the usage at this stage. The objective was to open the facility in time for Christmas in order to test the operations before it is advertised more widely by both SCC and GBC.

“The project was funded by a national Department of Transport programme which recognised that it may take time for the facility to attract new users by providing operational funds to cover this period. In time it should develop in to a very useful additional asset for Guildford.

“I do encourage people to use it because it is a great facility for the town and good way of getting into Guildford without the problems of town centre parking.”

Borough councillor James Palmer (Con, Shalford) added: “I believe that the new park and ride facility will, in time, be well used and help to reduce traffic in the town centre and ease congestion, providing benefits to the local environment and economy. It has only just opened operationally, and will be promoted extensively by Surrey County Council with the help of Guildford Borough Council over the coming months.

“It is usual to have a low key opening initially to sort out any teething troubles before fully promoting it to the public.”

Cllr Fiona White, Lib Dem county councillor for Guildford West, said: “While I welcome the changes to the road layout which have made a lot of difference to local traffic, it is a shame that so much money has been spent on a park and ride system which many of us objected to and which does not seem to be reducing the traffic going into Guildford, which was the purpose for which it was built.

“The local authorities were warned that an A3 access was essential, if it was to be a success, and they ignored us.”

But a spokesman from Surrey County Council said: “The park and ride has only been open nine days and it will take time for people to become aware of it. That is why we are beginning an advertising campaign to promote it but we are confident it will prove popular. We were keen to open it ahead of Christmas as it will boost the local economy and help cut congestion.”

The official opening of the car park will take place at 11am on Friday, November 29, but it has been fully open for use since Monday, November 11.

The bus services from the car park to the town start at 7.30am and run until 7pm. Buses from the town for Onslow Park and Ride start at 7.45am from Bay 21 of the Friary bus station and also run until 7pm. There is no Sunday service.

See also: Park And Ride Scheme Given The Nod Despite Ward Councillors’ Concerns

Map showing the location of the new Onslow Park & Ride facility.

Map showing the location of the new Onslow Park and Ride car park.

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Responses to Plenty Of Room, For The Moment, At New 550 Space Park and Ride Site

  1. Aaron Sharpe Reply

    November 23, 2013 at 12:24 am

    The New junction on Egerton Road is great, a vast improvement on the old roundabout.

    However for a bus to get to the hospital front entrance and back to the junction can take take over 15 min on a weekday evening. For one stop saving a 1 minute walk this is ridiculous.

    The light timings from the new park and ride however appear much more generous.

    I would like to see the Arriva 26 and 27 buses stop serving the hospital and instead recommend the arriva service to manor park and the other services to that area instead.

    And why during the evening rush is there always a Westway 802 Arriva bus parked on Egerton Road? Can the buses not be better put to use reliving overcrowding and full buses elsewhere than taking it in turns to park on the small bus stop stopping other buses from pulling in?

    Perhaps people could just park at the new park and ride and walk the 3 or 4 minutes to the hospital? Or a bus could be set up to run through Manor Park, avoiding the traffic, to take the infirm between to the park and ride and the Royal Surrey.

    Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council need to have a thorough look at public transport in the area with the aim of encouraging everyone to use it. A tip for them would be to think about journey time for most passengers as opposed to frequency.

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