Park and ride services in Durham City will reopen later this month with extra safety measures being taken as coronavirus restrictions begin to ease.
From 29 June, Durham County Council’s park and ride services will resume from Belmont and Sniperley, while Howlands will remain a Park and Stride site, operating solely as a car park.
To ensure the safety of everyone using the park and ride and in order to follow social distancing guidelines, there will be a maximum of eight passengers per bus.
Drivers will wear PPE and in line with government guidance, all passengers must wear a face mask whilst on the bus and will be refused access without wearing one.
Passengers are also encouraged to use their contactless cards to pay for their tickets, but all machines will be cleaned regularly and hand sanitisers will be made available on site for users too.
Services from Belmont and Sniperley will run every ten minutes during peak times, and every 15 minutes off-peak and on Saturdays.
From the same day (29 June), parking charges will also be reinstated in the council’s car parks and on-street pay and display bays. However, the council will continue to offer free parking to NHS and critical care workers.
To make it safer and easier for users, drivers will be able to pay via their mobile using the Pay By Phone service, which allows people to pay for their parking using either their app, website or telephone number.
However, anyone not wishing to use that service can still pay by contactless where possible, or by cash at the ticket machine.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Although restrictions are beginning to ease, it is important that we follow government guidance and use public transport safely. We’re working hard to ensure the safety of our drivers and passengers as we prepare to restart the park and ride services and we ask for the public’s patience as we follow these guidelines, particularly at busy times.
“I appreciate that at peak times there may be queues for the service but we would ask people to try to avoid those peak times if possible or spread their journey times to help manage that. Using contactless to either pay for the park and ride, or for parking in any town or city centre, is another measure that we’d encourage for safety.”
As of this week, any parking area or zone enforced by parking permits will be patrolled by traffic enforcement officers, who will also enforce any illegal parking in other areas.
For further details about parking in County Durham, visit www.durham.gov.uk/parking