Passenger frustrations at Portsmouth’s park-and-ride

A passenger's picture of the queue for the Park and Ride
A passenger's picture of the queue for the Park and Ride
Gail Bird and Anna Koor monitor traffic speeds at High Street, Old Portsmouth

Volunteers on a mission to kill speed

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BUS passengers faced major hold-ups at Portsmouth’s park-and-ride after a spike in demand.

Around 150 people queued for a bus yesterday to get into the city from the Tipner transport hub.

Some of those at the back of the line decided not to wait for potentially up to 90 minutes and got back in their cars and left.

Delays occurred over a two-hour period between 10am and midday.

While two extra buses were drafted in, frustrated visitors said better preparations should have been made to cope with demand during the summer holidays.

Ian Williams, 47, of North End, gave up queuing with his family.

‘I got fed up and just decided to drive away,’ he said.

‘There must have been about 250 people there waiting for a bus. The buses only take about 70 people so it doesn’t take a genius to work out how long it would have taken.

‘I contacted the park-and-ride management team and I was reimbursed my £2 ticket, but it’s now cost me £6.50 to park in the city.

‘The buses should be more frequent.’

The service runs every 12 minutes during peak periods from 7am to 9.30am and again after 3.15pm.

Out of those times it is every 20 minutes.

As previously reported, more than 65,000 visitors used the park-and-ride in its first two months of operation.

First Bus is the service’s bus provider.

Councillor Ken Ellcome, Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: ‘This is not the impression we want to create.

‘The park-and-ride is proving popular during the summer months and we don’t want to put people off.’

Marc Griffin, the council’s assistant head of service for transport, said: ‘The park-and-ride has experienced unprecedented popularity this week.

‘There was a short period when a lot of people arrived at once, leading to more people queuing than could get on a bus. As soon as we became aware of the situation extra buses were arranged and these cleared the queues straightaway.

‘We’re very sorry for any delays customers experienced and are offering them a refund.’

To prevent similar situations happening again, the council has arranged for an additional bus to run during the week and on Saturday for the rest of the summer holidays.