Taunton Park and Ride ‘reprieve’

Taunton Deane Borough Council said it has “stepped in” to save the town’s two park and ride schemes following talks with Somerset County Council.

The borough council said it has pledged a “one-off contribution” to keep the park and ride sites at Silk Mills and Gateway open until at least September 2019 after the county council put forward proposals to suspend them in a bid to make financial savings.

A borough council spokesperson said Councillor John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, met Somerset County Council counterparts so the authorities could find a solution in light of the continuing squeeze on the public purse.

Taunton Deane Borough Council will provide the initial financial support that will allow the service to continue to operate while a commercially viable service is developed by the authorities and First Bus to complement existing parking provision.

Slip road into the park and ride service at Ruishton – image copyright: David Smith

Councillor Williams said: “I am pleased that we are able to secure the future of these important edge of town transport links. They are essential for drivers looking for an efficient, cost-effective way of getting into the town centre, and are extremely beneficial to the local economy.

“Park and ride schemes enhance our excellent transport links in Taunton Deane, they help to reduce congestion and pollution, and are an integral element of our status as the first Garden Town in the South West.

“Whilst our one-off contribution cannot guarantee the long term future of the service, it does provide a crucial window of opportunity to work with our county council partners and the bus operating company to put the service on a commercially sound footing.

“As partners, we are convinced there is potential to create a sustainable future for the service and we will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of that objective.”

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for highways, said the county council had always appreciated the value of the Taunton park and ride but simply “no longer had the finances to support it”.

He added: “We’re really pleased Taunton Deane has stepped in and we are committed to working with them to develop the park and ride so that it has a sustainable future and can play a part in the long-term aspirations of the town.”

About The Editor

Hello! I'm KATE, a journalist, editor and broadcaster with 20 years experience in the industry. I have worked at the BBC, ITV, Heart and Sky Sports News.

I've lived in Somerset for most of my life and set up LOVE SOMERSET ONLINE in 2016. I love the seaside and am partial to a good gin and tonic.

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