Create synergies with the private car by establishing Park & Ride sites: their design can also cater to Bike & Ride customers.
Integration and co-operation with other modes can create win-win situations: Park & Ride is one example since Park & Ride passengers can be regarded as additional customers to those on the existing urban bus service network. In general there are two types of Park & Ride: near the origin mostly linked by train, and near the destination in the periphery of cities. The latter type is the most important for local public transport systems
Park & Ride facilities in the periphery of the city are becoming quite common in many European cities. Combined with frequent public transport between the Park & Ride-parking lot and the city centre this can be very successful, especially when there is paid parking and a parking problem in the inner city.
A successful Park & Ride service has to fulfil the following characteristics: safe and secure, fast, comfortable, easy to find and to use, high frequent and reliable public transport connections (shuttle bus or regular public transport), attractive pricing and active and positive campaigning. In other words all 7 Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Process, Personnel, and Politics) aspects have to be optimal in order to be successful.
The main target groups of Park & Ride are visitors (shopping, tourists) to the city centre and daily commuters. A key aim should be to appeal to motorists who are not used to using public transport and, if possible, to attract them onto the 'normal' public transport network.
Simple pre-trip information (map, ticket prices and timetable) should be available through leaflets and the websites of the public transport operator and the municipality. Publication on city maps and on websites of tourist organisations, and other websites frequently used by visitors or commuters should be promoted as well (Figure 5‑1).
Potential users should be pointed to Park & Ride facilities by signposting along the road when approaching the city borders. The motorist should be even able to use Park & Ride when he / she has discovered this option by chance without any information beforehand. Various cities use displays (real-time information or semi-dynamic) to indicate the current frequency of the bus services to potential Park & Ride users (‘Bus to city centre every 5 minutes’). Information about tickets, routes and network at the Park & Ride parking place should assist in making the trip as easy as possible.
Figure 5‑1: Schematic map outlining the city’s Park & Ride strategy (Parma, Italy) as pre-trip information (source: http://www.infotraffico.pr.it)
Ticketing and buying tickets must be simple and easy. Total travel costs when using Park & Ride should preferably be less than when parking in the city centre. In general the following possibilities are provided:
Integrated tickets (parking fee + public transport tickets in one).
Free parking + ordinary bus fares / special Park & Ride-tickets.
Special service features at Park & Ride lotssuch as covered customer waiting areas, with chairs, refreshments, toilets etc., special security measures, real-time information about bus departures, all contribute to higher acceptance of the scheme.
Priority measures along corridors between Park & Ride facilities help to compensate for time-losses caused by within-system discontinuity (the waiting time during the change from car to the bus).
Similar principles as for Park & Ride can be applied to Bike & Ride services.
Promotion of the Park & Ride facility should be a joint effort of the main actors involved: the municipal authority (often several departments are involved) and the public transport operator.
Park & Ride schemes are usually not a priority business in smaller cities; however, Park & Ride can be an option especially in historical cities and towns (e.g. those with medieval centres).
If Park& Ride is established, then a holistic and comfortable solution is necessary. Compromises, bad features (e.g. no integration of parking fee and ticket price, low frequency of bus services) may result in a poor usage of Park & Ride which might have serious financial impacts for the municipality (e.g. investment in parking facilities, funds being used for poorly-used shuttle services).
The frequency of buses connecting with Park & Ride places has to be comparatively high. Experience show that the usage will be low, if the bus headway is lower than every 15 minutes and if there is no parking restriction policy in the city centre (paid parking).
Cambridge (UK): Cambridge - a historic city with high tourist traffic and narrow city centre streets - has had great success with a Park & Ride bus system for improved city centre accessibility. There are 5 Park & Ride sites, one being situated close to major retail developments, some being also served by long-distance coach services, and some being served by buses which also connect to a major regional hospital as well as to the city centre. This example is not part of the PROCEED case study analysis.
Cork (Ireland): An 8-acre (about 32,000 m2) Park & Ride site at Black Ash with 904 spaces is the first purpose-built Park & Ride site in Ireland. The capital cost was funded by the Department of Transport and the site is operated by Bus Éireann under contract to Cork City Council. Within 50 weeks of operation, the income exceeded operating costs for the site, and the project received a national Public Service excellence award for innovation in local authorities. The Park & Ride service uses dedicated double-deck buses, and has a single charge per car (5 Euros), which includes bus travel for all occupants. There is bus Priority on the Park & Ride corridor. The service was used by 200,000 people in the first year.
Groningen (The Netherlands): The city of Groningen is actively promoting Park & Ride. Currently there are four Park & Ride sites. Parking is free (although an exception is the Park & Ride site in Zaanstraat, next to the station). The Park & Ride sites are connected to the City Centre by a frequent city bus service operating on Sunday shopping days as well. A return trip on the Citybus costs € 2,00 (max. 5 persons / travel companions on one ticket). The Citybus uses free bus lanes on most of the route. Over 1.4 million people used this service in 2006.
Klagenfurt (Austria): There are special shuttle buses that connect the Park & Ride facilities at the periphery with the city centre; these buses can be used for free.
Pisa (Italy): The Park & Ride facilities have been recently implemented: each day 2,800 people leave the car in the Park & Ride facility and reach the city centre by shuttle bus.