AN EXTRA stop for the city’s park and ride has been welcomed by traders and shoppers.
The bus extended its route to Southsea after hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the move.
Buses from the multimillion-pound transport hub in Tipner, Portsmouth, now call at The Hard, the city centre and then Osborne Road, in Southsea.
Council leader Donna Jones said: ‘The number of people using park-and-ride during Easter was fantastic – it was one of the busiest weekends of the year.
‘The park-and-ride is usually always full at the weekends, which is good when there is traffic also trying to get into the city.
‘Now we have introduced the extension to Southsea, it gives people more options when using public transport, but it also helps to reduce the number of cars driving into the centre of Portsmouth.’
And the extra footfall was welcomed by Southsea traders.
Andre Guedeney, who runs La Croissanterie, in Osborne Road, said: ‘It’s about time that the buses started to come to Southsea.
‘We struggle with parking spaces and this service means that people can enjoy what Southsea has to offer and not have the hassle of fighting for a parking spot. It’s great that the council has listened to what people want.’
Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport Linda Symes also welcomed the move, which cost the council £90,000, but said she thought it should have been incorporated into the scheme from when it first opened in April last year.
Cllr Symes, who represents the St Jude ward, said: ‘If we don’t want people to bring their cars into the city and cause misery to the residents then we have to provide a means for people to get here.
‘Southsea is the jewel in Portsmouth’s crown and it is so wonderful to come and visit. It was a missed opportunity.’
Cllr Symes, along with fellow Conservative councillors, collected more than 1,200 signatures last year calling for the council to include the extra stop. At the time, former council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said it would cost taxpayers an extra £400,000 a year to run park-and-ride buses to Southsea, although this cost has since been greatly reduced.
The new service saw scores of people take advantage of the new hourly-service.
The park and ride costs £3 for a full day, £14 per week or £600 per year.
Buses run every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday, and every 20 minutes on a Sunday.
For more details go to parkandride.portsmouth.gov.uk/