Question mark over future of Hull's only park and ride service after falling passenger numbers

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 12 Jul 2018

Hull's only park and ride bus service is believed to be facing an uncertain future.

Bus operator Stagecoach took over the shuttle route between Priory Park and the city centre in 2014, running it as a fully commercial service.

Its contract with Hull City Council was the first without any public subsidy funding from the authority since the council-owned Priory Park site was opened in 2003.

Previously, the council was providing an annual subsidy of £200,000 to operators.

Now, Hull Live understands a fall in passenger numbers has put a question mark over its future.

The reduction in numbers is part of a wider trend experienced by the city's two main bus operators over the last 18 months.

In April, Stagecoach changed the route of the service, taking buses off Clive Sullivan Way and sending them into the city centre via Askew Avenue and Anlaby Road instead.

How to find the current Park and Ride site at Priory Park

Debate over the current viability of the service was held behind closed doors at a city council scrutiny committee earlier today after councillors voted to exclude the press and public on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

But a list of suggested discussion topics in published briefing paper for the meeting included the issue of revenue costs surrounding park and ride.

It said: "Priory park and ride is being run on a commercial basis by Stagecoach.

"However, Stagecoach is experiencing issues with reduced passenger numbers and reduced services as a result.

"If an additional park and ride cannot be run on a commercial basis, where is the funding to be found for the additional service?"

Back in open session, councillors heard officers were preparing a new feasibility study looking at options for a possible park and ride site in the north of the city.

The council has set aside a £1m budget to cover the cost of the study which comes around a decade after the last in-depth look at potential sites in the area.

Hull City Council regeneration manager Mark Jones

Previously senior councillors have ruled out long-term subsidy funding for any new northern park and ride service, insisting the need to ensure enough people use it to make an attractive commercial proposition to any operator.

Mark Jones, the council's regeneration director, said finding the right site and route for any northern park and ride service was crucial.

"The most effective park and rides operate express buses which do not get held up in traffic and congestion," he added.

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