/ Free Park and Ride for Christmas
Shoppers in Swale will be able to park and ride for free in the run up to Christmas, as part of a scheme being trialled by Swale Borough Council.
Working with local schools and businesses, the council will be running a special park and ride in Faversham, Sheerness and Sittingbourne in the run up to Christmas.
The council will operate a free, pick up and drop off, park and ride coach service from locations on the outskirts of each of the borough’s main towns into the town centres for shoppers and visitors.
The free service will operate on Small Business Saturday (3 December 2016) and then again on both Saturday 10 and Saturday 17 December.
The intended service times will be from 08.30 until 16.45, with the car parks opening at 08.15 and closing at 17.30.
Cllr Alan Horton, cabinet member for safer families and communities at the council, said:
“This exciting new innovation for Swale is to see how effective a park and ride scheme could be in increasing visitors to our town centres in the busy Christmas shopping period.
“This initiative is direct action to increase the number of visitors to our town centres in the busy pre-Christmas shopping season for the benefit of local traders and businesses.
“We’ll be fully evaluating the scheme to get the views of those who use it, help understand the patterns of vehicle use, and to get a clear picture of the impact on car parks and local business.”
Potential benefits of a park and ride scheme, particularly in the busy run up to Christmas, are:
• a significant increase in car parking capacity, allowing for greater numbers of visitors than usual
• widespread advertising that local shops are open for business
• a reduction in the traffic into the town centres improving the shopping experience and benefitting the environment
• encouraging visitors to make more of their day, to come and stay longer, enjoying the experience and get into the festive spirit.
The town centre car parks will remain open as usual for those who prefer to drive into the town and pay for their car parking as they would do on any other time of the year.
Further details will be advertised nearer the time.