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Foolish' Cambridge Park & Ride charges are being scrapped in April

Longstanton Park and Ride building. Picture: Keith Heppell
Longstanton Park and Ride building. Picture: Keith Heppell

It'll be free to park at the sites around Cambridge again.

Free parking will again be available at Cambridge’s seven Park & Ride sites from April 1.

The £1 parking fee, introduced in 2014, is being removed next month. Since its introduction the number of riders on the Park & Rides has dropped 14 per cent.

The charge is now being dropped to encourage more people to get out of their cars and use greener and more sustainable modes of transport to travel into Cambridge city centre.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner welcomed the move.

He said: “At last! The decision by the county council to impose parking charges was a dreadful own-goal, and has made congestion in Cambridge worse.

“I have been campaigning since 2013, along with many others, to get these foolish charges, and the over-complicated machines, removed.

“It is long over-due, and is largely thanks to Lewis Herbert and the Greater Cambridge Partnership who have forced the County Council to climb down.

“Unfortunately, it will take a long time to undo the damage they have done, and we now need a big campaign to encourage people back on to park and ride.

“This whole fiasco is a perfect example of how narrow-minded, short-term Conservative cost-cutting ends up costing us all much more in the long-run.”

The Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire County Council agreed to split the cost of the shortfall from the removal of the parking charge, with the GCP contributing £530,000 for an initial three year period. This arrangement will be reviewed after three years.

The GCP has £100million of government money to spend by 2020.

Councillor Francis Burkitt, chair of the GCP, said: “Parking should be free at these important transport interchanges, to encourage people to get out of their cars and use public transport: buses, the guided bus or, in time hopefully, autonomous shuttles and the CAM Metro championed by the Combined Authority.

“It’s absolutely right that the GCP should use its resources to stimulate and encourage more modal shift in this way, and I’m delighted that, from April 1, parking at all seven sites will be free.”

Almost 100 new cycle lockers have been installed to enable cyclists to securely store their bikes at Park & Ride sites. There are plans for more lockers to be installed in the coming months.

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