NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Park and ride in Aberdeen 'used by seven cars a day'

Craibstone Park and Ride
Image caption There were only a handful of vehicles at the site when this photograph was taken late on Wednesday morning

A £15m park and ride facility in Aberdeen with almost 1,000 spaces has been used by an average of just seven cars a day, it has emerged.

The Craibstone site, near Aberdeen International Airport, opened in 2017 and can hold 996 vehicles.

However, Freedom of Information (FoI) figures showed the average number of cars using it each day was 14 in 2017, and that halved to seven in 2018.

The council said it was attempting to make bus travel "more attractive".

Bus companies First Aberdeen and Stagecoach North also said work needed to be done.

The council FoI information said occupancy was not recorded at park and ride (P&R) sites on a daily basis, with the main measure being through the level of bus passengers on services accessing the sites, and surveys.

Image caption The facility opened in 2017

Sandra Macdonald, Aberdeen City Council's transport spokeswoman, said there had been "declining patronage" at the three P&R sites in Aberdeen, the others being at Bridge of Don and Kingswells.

She said: "This is reflective of a decline in bus patronage across Scotland and although the north east region has not seen the steepest decline across the country it faces the same challenges as elsewhere, with an 11% drop in patronage between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

"As a result, the P&R sites at Bridge of Don and Craibstone have seen a reduction in the frequency of bus services operating at the sites, which is not conducive to attracting growth.

"We are working closely with our partners through the North East of Scotland Bus Alliance to arrest decline in bus patronage and to achieve year-on-year growth in bus patronage, including the use of P&R sites and services."

'Eases congestion'

She said other long-term projects aimed to make bus use more attractive.

It is hoped there could be an increase in the number of vehicles using the site with the opening of the replacement for the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), the nearby TECA (The Event Complex Aberdeen).

David Phillips, operations director for First Aberdeen, said: "The key to success for any park and ride setup is to incentivise onward bus travel versus continuing on a car journey."

He said the company was willing to be part of the process of striking the right balance.

Image caption The Craibstone site is near Aberdeen International Airport

Stagecoach North Scotland said in a statement: "Park and Ride facilities play a vital part in sustainable travel for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

"One full bus can remove up to 75 car journeys from the road, reduce overall emissions levels and help improve air quality.

"When compared to car travel we are able to offer competitive journey times through bus priority in the city, this makes for a smoother and more consistent journey which also eases the congestion, especially during peak times.

"We are currently working with local authorities to promote Park and Ride sites and encourage the public to use sustainable travel where they can."

More on this story