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Agenda item

Outcomes of Bus Interchange Study, Parking Strategy and Park and Ride Study, and Park and Ride Operational Review

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded the Committee that there were two urgent updates relating to this item.

 

Mr Mark Egerton, Strategic Planning Manager, presented this item to the Committee.

 

It was highlighted to the Committee that this report had two fundamental elements. The first element brought together the findings of the tri-study and the Park and Ride operational review. The second element set out a series of Officer-led proposals relating to the above.

 

In response to a question from the Committee, Mr Jeff Kitson, Parking Services Manager, replied that car parking charges could be changed at any time throughout the year, as long as the correct consultation process was carried out and any objections formally reviewed.

 

The Committee requested that a separate report setting out proposed car parking charges be brought to the Committee at the same time as the Innovation in Car Parks report was due to be considered in February 2018.

 

The Committee raised the following concerns about Park and Ride:

 

·  The service provided poor value for money and therefore a seven year contract would not be practical;

 

·  No suitable alternative modes of sustainable transport had been provided;

 

·  If the Park and Ride was closed down now there would be nothing to replace it;

 

·  The current form of Park and Ride was not being well utilised and therefore the required benefits were not apparent;

 

·  In the Maidstone Borough Local Plan, Park and Ride was included as a mode of sustainable transport and if it were to close down problems could arise when the Local Plan was reviewed; and

 

·  The locations of the Park and Ride sites were not easily accessible from all areas of the Borough.

 

The Committee agreed that Option 4, which included the extension of the current contract for one year, increasing the duration of the service to 7 p.m. and the introduction of a pay to park charging structure, was the best option, provided that costs be reduced by retaining the existing 20 minute bus frequency. The Committee therefore decided against increasing the bus frequency to every 15 minutes as this would amount to an extra cost of £153,380 for the year. Also, the summary of the most recent Park and Ride improvement survey (found at Appendix 2) showed that 56.4% of those that responded to the survey thought that buses should depart every 20 minutes in each direction throughout the day.

 

The Committee requested that a report be presented back to the Committee by October 2018 with data of peak usage so that Members could review the new service and make an informed decision on whether to keep Park and Ride after the one year extension had been completed. The Committee also requested that alternative sustainable transport options be considered and presented to the Committee by October 2018.

 

In response to a question from the Committee, Ms Georgia Hawkes, the Head of Commissioning and Business Improvement, clarified that the pay to park charge would be £2.50 per car (the detail of which could be found in paragraph 2.19 of the report).

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the tri-study report be agreed for publication.

 

2.  That improvements and potential investment into Maidstone bus station be investigated.

 

Voting: Unanimous

 

3.  That the matter of revising car park charges be held until the innovation of car parks is reviewed next month.

 

Voting: Unanimous

 

4.  That option 4 be accepted with the difference that the frequency of buses remains at 20 minutes.

 

5.  That a full report be brought to this Committee by October 2018 which sets out the alternative sustainable transport options and which measures the success or otherwise of park and ride based on peak usage.

 

Voting: For – 5   Against – 4 Abstentions – 0

 

6.  That the pay to park charging structure for the park and ride be agreed.

 

Voting: For – 5   Against – 0 Abstentions – 4

 

Supporting documents:

 

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