Reasons to question Park and Rides – Thanks to CPRE’s P&R expert

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April 9, 2013 by rethinkm32

Here is an email I received recently from CPRE. Their P&R expert has done considerable work looking at the use, impacts, costs and struggles of making P&R work. This email summarises her understanding. You can use these arguments when raising a formal objection to the Site Allocations document the Council is having it’s final consultation phase on at the moment (See other post – this will become the Development Plan for the next 10 + years).

I know we’ve said much of it before, but if we want to remove the spectre of  the P&R out of the Council’s plan, now is the time to say it as clearly as you can. The Blue Finger Alliance will be creating a series of objections and policy suggestions to feed into what will become the Local Plan for the next 10 years. One of them will be specifically about removing the M32P&R. When we’ve done this we’ll email them out to you all to help you create your own objections or support ours.

If anyone would like the attachments to this email please let me know by email.

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.  I have a huge amount of material some of which is attached but the important issues are:


If you don’t reduce the number of parking spaces in the centre by the same amount that you build on the periphery you will not reduce traffic in the city centre.  The spaces that those who use the Park and Ride will be filled by someone else.  This is because Bath and Bristol are at congested equilibrium, people change their behaviour according to traffic levels…so people time their journeys according to traffic levels and make decisions about whether to drive depending of the ease of finding a parking space.  Suddenly if those who currently drive into the centre use the Park and Ride, the spaces they vacate will gradually get filled.


Often people divert some distance to get to the Park and Ride and this plus the fact that during the middle of the day many of the buses are running empty if you do the calculations, Park and Ride sometimes increases car mileage and fuel consumption and therefore pollution.


The pricing system is crucial – if you charge for parking and the bus is free perhaps you’d get multi-occupancy cars….instead it is often a bus fare that is charge so you get single occupancy cars.  The other problem is that it is not integrated into the other bus services and so in Bath people drive out from half way into the centre to the Park and Ride because the ‘bus’ is cheaper than an ordinary bus and they’ve already got a car.


I don’t know how big the M32 Park and Ride is….or proposed to be but to be viable at any level they probably need to be about 1500 parking spaces.  It is a lot of hardware, i.e expensive buses to devote to a few car drivers!  In Bath, one bus the X 39 brings in more people to Bath than all the Park and Rides put together that puts it in some kind of perspective.


What are the alternatives?  How could you better spend the money?  There are all sorts of reasons why Park and Rides are built….arguments are made that they provide ‘choice’, that they are green but they also provide a ‘revenue’ stream which council’s need….though they ignore the huge capital cost.  You could argue it is an aberration of accounting methods in local authorities.  The fact is, in Bath, it is mainly women who use Park and Ride because they don’t like parking in the centre – too difficult.  There are a couple of slides that summarize the conclusions of some very recent work by a colleague in Bath attached.  The whole presentation which is quite complicated and is a huge file can be obtained from



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