COMMUTERS who use the Bishopton park and ride face a heavy hit to their wallets.
The park and ride off Bishopton Lane, which has operated for over a decade, currently has free all day parking but the service has needed a subsidy of £2million to cover current losses.
And cash-strapped Warwickshire County Council – which runs the park and ride service – now plan to amalgamate the car park serving Stratford Parkway rail station and the park and ride bus service, and operate it on a pay and display basis.
The proposed charges could be enforced as soon as June, and with the parking charge would see the cost of an annual pass rise to £350 – from the current £200 charged for an annual pass for bus travel into town.
The county council said the charges were necessary following cuts to its budget but added bus fares would not rise.
Currently people pay £2 for a day return bus ticket, but will now have to fork out an extra £3 to park before 9am, and £1 after 9am.
Stratford district councillor Peter Moorse said: “Anything which discourages people from using the park and ride and encourages more traffic on to the Birmingham Road, in my opinion, is a bad thing.
“There is already a major problem in St Peter’s Way and on Bishopton Lane with commuters parking on the residential roads because it’s free. It is a big problem for residents.”
Stratforward, which works to promote the town’s businesses, expressed concern at the possible impact of the proposed charges.
A spokeswoman said: “We would find it difficult to be positive about any increase in parking costs to our BID member businesses that might adversely affect their staff or diminish their footfall.
“The park and ride scheme is something that we wholeheartedly support as an affordable and convenient way for people who work in and visit Stratford to access the town and we would hope that affordability for the end user would be protected above all else.”
Blue badge holders would be exempt from the proposed charges.