Park and ride services in Durham City are to close temporarily as the nation responds to the Government’s plea to stay at home.
Durham County Council’s park and ride services at Sniperley, Belmont and Howlands have seen demand fall dramatically over the last few weeks, as more people work from home and adhere to social distancing rules to help slow the spread of Coronavirus.
A reduced bus service has been in place at Belmont and Sniperley since Wednesday, while Howlands has operated solely as a car park.
However, the council has also waived parking charges at all its car parks, both on and off street, meaning key workers can now access ample free parking within the city centre itself. This was done in advance of the Government’s guidance and has further reduced demand for park and ride facilities.
Bus services at Belmont and Sniperley were suspended this morning (Friday, 27 March) and all three car parks will close at 7pm tonight. Motorists who arrived at Belmont and Sniperley this morning were directed to the nearest council car park in the city centre.
Durham Bus Station will also close on Monday, with all buses using street stops to avoid people having to wait in an enclosed space. Other bus stations are currently being reviewed.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “As the week has progressed, we have seen fewer and fewer people use our park and ride services.
“This is good news as it shows how seriously County Durham residents are taking the Government’s call for people to only leave the house for exercise or when it is essential to do so.
“Although we are closing our park and ride services, we have waived the fees at our car parks across the county, including in Durham City, to ensure key workers can park easily and for free.
“Earlier this month, we also made the car park at County Hall available to University Hospital North Durham staff should they need it.”
For further details about parking in County Durham, visit www.durham.gov.uk/parking
For more information about advice and support for those affected by Coronavirus, visit www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus