Leicester

Leicester park and ride hospital cut defended

The axing of a park and ride service to a Leicester hospital and sports venues has been defended.

Since 2009, buses from the £9.2m site at Enderby have used the "city loop" which passes Leicester Royal Infirmary and goes close to two sports stadiums.

But later this month the loop part of the route will be cut.

Some people have complained this will force hospital users and sports fans into their cars but the county council said costs needed to be cut.

The Enderby site can hold 1,000 cars, but only about 300 of these spaces are being filled each day - well below targets.

In 2010/11 it received a subsidy of £632,000, split equally between the county and city council.

'No use'

Officials said it was hoped this would fall by £200,000 as a new park and ride site opened.

Ray Parnell, who regularly uses the hospital stop to get to work, said: "They started this service to cut the number of cars coming into the city centre.

"Now somewhere with a lot of visitors will lose its service and you are back to people facing hospital parking charges and you are back to the emissions.

"The park and ride will certainly be no use to me and that's another car on the road."

Ian Drummond, the county council's assistant director of transportation, said: "This is primarily a work day service and we have found the city centre route is not being used very much.

"We have got to work with what we can afford to do.

"We are subsidising it, there has been a lot of commentary about the subsidy and we have to manage this as best we can."

Mr Drummond said he hoped a new park and ride site at Birstall would encourage more people to use the service, giving the council more options for routes and services to be reconsidered.

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