No Christmas extension to Portsmouth park and ride service

ROUTES One of the park-and-ride buses that run from Tipner to The Hard
ROUTES One of the park-and-ride buses that run from Tipner to The Hard
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HOPES of a park-and-ride service coming to Southsea in time for Christmas have been dashed.

But Portsmouth traffic official Marc Griffin has revealed a review of the transport scheme and its drop-off points will be carried out in January.

Mr Griffin, who made the announcement at a meeting of the Southsea Association last night, said funding was not yet ready to support a park and ride extension.

Mr Griffin, the city council’s assistant head of service for transport, said: ‘At the moment, very little is happening in terms of park and ride coming to Southsea.

‘We haven’t registered the bus service to Southsea with the traffic commissioner.

‘In January, we will look at the park and ride more closely.

‘We have got to look at the timetabling.’

The service, which starts at Tipner, currently serves the city centre and The Hard for visitors going to Gunwharf Quays and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Passengers can also get on a bus to Southsea from The Hard if they pay a top-up fee.

Mr Griffin said that if the park and ride was extended to Southsea, buses would probably run every hour as that would require a £100,000 public subsidy – £300,000 cheaper than if the service was more frequent.

But he warned nothing was concrete and said take-up of buses to Southsea from The Hard back in the summer was poor.

‘On a day back in August, only 28 tickets were sold,’ he said.

Residents at the meeting said more needed to be done to make Southsea more inviting for shoppers if park and ride is to work.

They said there was a lack in variety and coffee and charity shops had effectively taken over.

Tory council leader Donna Jones agreed but admitted there was little the authority could do as it doesn’t own shop space.

She said internet shopping had changed consumer habits.

‘The nature of shopping has changed dramatically with the huge burst in everyone’s lives of iPads and laptops,’ she said.