Walton le Dale Park and Ride saved

County Coun Keith Iddon
County Coun Keith Iddon

Preston’s Park and Ride service at Walton le Dale has been thrown a cash lifeline by the county council.

Rotala Preston Bus was due to withdraw from running the service.

Preston Park and Ride service saved

Preston Park and Ride service saved

But the county council, recognising that it was not viable for a private operator to meet the costs of running the park and ride site, has stepped in to keep the service on the road for a further six months.

During that time new proposals will be developed on how to keep the service operational.

County Coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member with responsibility for transport said one option might be to reduce the size of the park and ride depot which is located next to the Capitol Centre and Vue cinema off the A6 Bamber Bridge by-pass.

When the county council cabinet met yesterday it agreed to provide an extra £33,000 to keep buses, which operate from Monday to Saturday, on the road.

After the meeting Coun Iddon said the facility reduces both congestion and pollution in the city centre: “Obviously we understand how important it is to have a park and ride. This just gives us six months to come up with a scheme. We are very keen to keep it going.”

He added that officer Oliver Starkey had also advised that more publicity for the facility would be helpful.

Rotala Preston Bus told the council it planned to stop the service from July 24. Now it will continue to operate it but will no longer have to meet the cost of the site’s business rates and utility bills.

A report to the cabinet noted the contracted cost of providing the service was around £104,000 with expected revenue of £110,000. The rate and utility costs would be £33,000 for six months, resulting in a net cost to the council of £27,000. The county council also maintains the site at a cost of £11,000 a year.