A SENIOR politician has called for a shake-up of park and ride services in Scarborough in a bid to boost passenger numbers and meet the needs of tourists.
Deputy mayor, Cllr Andrew Backhouse, is pushing for new routes to be created when new contractors take over the scheme next year.
After being consulted on improvements to the service, the former cabinet member for highways and transport, told North Yorkshire County Council it made “common sense” for buses to stop at North Bay.
The move would mean visitors would then able to take advantage of the major developments taking place as part of the area’s regeneration, including the proposed multi-million pound water park at The Sands.
He said: “The existing park and ride services, and their routes, have proved to be an increasing success.
“However, there is stil scope to improve the service, and to carry passengers to where they want to be in the awarding of the new contract in 2013.
“I believe that the county council have to be relaxed, in regards to circular route timings, and to firstly specify a route that potential passengers want, and then to dovetail the timings accordingly.”
The Seamer Road 165 and Filey Road 64 services travel into the town centre but currently bypass the North Bay – it has previously been proposed to build a third site to the north of the town.
By adjusting the existing routes, Cllr Backhouse said it would increase the number of passengers as well as create a “bespoke” service for users.
“I think in reality by offering a park and ride service that takes people where they want to go, they are more likely to use it.
There is the potential to increase the use of services by getting a route system that takes people where they want to be,” he said.
He also believes the 65 service should be rerouted along Seamer Road and the Falsgrave Road corridor, rejoining the existing route at Somerset Terrace.
“This would give the potential to attract more passengers from the working sector of Falsgrave, and to increase shoppers within this “forgotten” part of Scarborough town,” he said.
A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman said the consultation had now come to an end and the new contract, which will start next February, would be awarded by the end of this month.
Launched in 2009, the park and ride scheme cost around £5 million overall as part of an Integrated Transport System costing in the region of £40 million, with most of the cash coming from central Government grants. It has previously been proposed to build a third site to the north of the town.
Throughout its operation the scheme has faced criticism from residents over “empty buses”, despite official figures showing passenger numbers had increased by 75,000 over two years, while the number of cars driving into the town had dropped by 46,770.