Taunton Deane Borough Council are working with Somerset County Council to save Taunton’s park and ride sites from closure.
This is one of the latest cuts proposed by SCC, which is suffering from increasing financial difficulties. These result from the government’s removal of the Revenue Support Grant and failure to provide a fair funding system for local authorities. Also SCC should have raised more from Council Tax in previous years.
I support measures to allow the park and ride sites to be maintained and welcome TDBC’s initiative. Park and ride provides an important service for commuters, shoppers and hospital users from Wivey and other areas outside of Taunton. The loss of these sites would also increase traffic and parking problems in the town.
UPDATE (7/9/2018) – GOOD NEWS: The park and rides are saved for now, although there could be the possibility of higher charges in future.
A press release issued today says: “Taunton Deane Borough Council is stepping in to save the town’s two park and ride schemes following talks with Somerset County Council”.
TDBC “has pledged a one-off contribution to keep the park and ride sites at Silk Mills and Gateway open until at least September 2019 … TDBC will provide the initial financial support that will allow the service to continue to operate while a commercially viable service is developed by the authorities and First Bus to complement existing parking provision.” TDBC’s funding is coming from reserves for unexpected events or emergencies.
UPDATE (18/12/2018): Unfortunately, fares are now to rise from Christmas Eve, but it is still a convenient and good value service, which is worth using and maintaining. Click here for service details and costs.
UPDATE (23/7/2019): Following a report to SWT Executive today, further funding will allow Taunton’s park and ride car parks to continue until March 2020, while further measures are to be explored and implemented to put the services “on a more commercial and sustainable long term footing”. These measures focus on promotion and incentives, such as a scheme for staff at Musgrove Park Hospital. It is noted SWT sets charges for town centre car parks which influences use of the park and ride. Use has increased. There is an ambition for two more sites and interest in weekend opening, but saving the current sites from closure by SCC is clearly the current priority.
UPDATE (20/2/2020): As part of the Council’s annual budget, agreed yesterday, £230,000 has been allocated to continue the Park and Ride service for drivers to Taunton. It was also agreed to increase charges for car parks by 10%, partly to encourage use of Park and Ride where parking is free. A strategy for parking in the district is to be prepared later in the year.
UPDATE (18/2/2021): SWT is to discontinue funding to maintain the park and ride sites from April 2021, as Somerset County Council have reversed their 2018 decision to close the sites and will take them back on again. It’s an odd reversal but should be good news. There are still no firm details for SWT’s parking review and strategy, although we are told it is now expected to start in 2021/22.
UPDATE (6 July 2021): Somerset County Council have awarded a five-year contract to Buses of Somerset to run Taunton’s two park and ride sites.