Park and ride schemes

11 September 2008

a road sign giving directions to a park and ride carpark near Reading

At least twenty four British towns and cities will be promoting 'in town without my car ' next week as part of the EU's Mobility Week 16-22 September. However, the AA says a drive into town is the only option for many as there are only 84 official 'park and ride' schemes in the UK.

Fifty one per cent of AA Populus panel members1 have used 'park and ride' and over a third more would try it if the opportunity arose according to the latest results from the AA Populus panel of 18,500 members. Only 18 per cent said that they would never consider using park and ride.

The AA's 'Fuel for Thought' research also shows that heading to the suburban 'park and ride' rather than urban town centre can save at least 7mpg on an average car's fuel consumption.

'Park and ride' has increased in popularity. In 1993 only a quarter of AA members said they had used a scheme probably because there were fewer but today 87 per cent have or would use a scheme.

Far from shunning public transport AA members have shown that when it is quick, clean, efficient simple to use and cheap they will use it.

'Park and ride' is most popular with the over 65's (56 per cent) and least popular with 18 to 24 year olds (46 per cent) though 40 per cent of younger people in the survey said they would consider giving it a go. In terms of the sexes 5 per cent more women than men said they had used 'park and ride'.

In the regions Northern Ireland is the place with least use of 'park and ride' amongst the panel members (34 per cent) followed by London (42 per cent). These were also the places where panel members were most adamant about not using a scheme even if one existed. Panel members in East Anglia (63 per cent) and the south west 59 per cent were most likely to have used park and ride.

AA comment

Commenting on the results Edmund King AA President said "AA members have always been great supporters of park and ride as it provides the best of both private and public transport. There is usually little hassle getting to the 'park and ride' car park, parking is easy, cheap, usually safe and buses are frequent.

"There is no need for the driver to negotiate unfamiliar streets and no need to worry about parking tickets. Our fuel consumption research also shows that 'park and ride' users can make big mpg savings by driving suburban rather than urban. Campaigns to get people out of their cars are pointless if the infrastructure is not in place to offer an alternative."

Use of park and ride by region

London: 42% have used , 42% would use, and 15% would not use park&ride

Scotland: 47% have used , 41% would use, and 12% would not use park&ride

South: 54% have used , 34% would use, and 12% would not use park&ride

North West: 47% have used , 39% would use, and 14% would not use park&ride

Yorks & Humberside: 50% have used , 37% would use, and 14% would not use park&ride

North East: 49% have used , 39% would use, and 13% would not use park&ride

E Midlands: 57% have used , 31% would use, and 12% would not use park&ride

East Anglia: 63% have used , 26% would use, and 11% would not use park&ride

W Midlands: 50% have used , 37% would use, and 13% would not use park&ride

Northern Ireland: 34% have used , 50% would use, and 16% would not use park&ride

South West: 59% have used , 30% would use, and 11% would not use park&ride

Wales: 54% have used , 33% would use, and 14% would not use park&ride


1Populus received 18,547 responses from AA members to its online poll between May 23 and 2 June 2008. The AA/Populus panel has more than 30,000 members.

A mid-size petrol car driven in an urban environment returns 25.5mpg and in a suburban environment (where park and rides are usually located) 32.5 mpg. One park and ride space used by one car per day can save 0.164 tonnes of CO2 in a year.

Park and ride systems usually involve people transferring from car to bus, train, tram or even waterways for part of a journey. A fee is usually charged for either the car park or bus and it usually represents good value for money when compared to town or city centre parking plus the fuel consumption penalty of urban driving. These schemes have grown in popularity in towns and cities across Britain, there are now 84 of them which have park and ride.

A great variety of British towns (with a great variety traffic - in some cases very little) are reported to be taking part in Mobility Week including, Belfast, Bournemouth, Aylesbury, Doncaster, Gloucester, Harrogate, Kidderminster, Maidstone, Matlock, Newbury, Reading, Sheffield, Swansea, Wareham, Walsall, Wigan, Woking, and a number of London Boroughs.

AA Public Affairs


11 September 2008