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Who’ll drive buses for park and ride?
2:23pm Wednesday 25th June 2014 in News
A BUS company has not yet been picked to run Colchester’s park and ride, which is due to open in nine months.
After many delays, Essex County Council finally said last month that the £6million park and ride centre, with 1,000 car parking spaces, will open next March.
But work is yet to start at the site, near junction 28 of the A12.
The council will oversee the service, but a spokesman said a bus operator for the park and ride is yet to be finalised.
Councillor Martin Goss, whose Mile End ward includes the park and ride, said: “Essex County Council needs to pull its finger out as its record of project delivery on time is poor.
“Given no sod has been turned on the park and ride site and no operator is appointed and we are now approaching July, the omens do not look good.”
Pete Hewitt, chairman of Myland Community Council, said: “Our view is that it is a bit shambolic.
“There have been hiccups all the way through.
“It is just problem after problem.
“They needed to guarantee funding was in place before they did it.
“We face years of chaos because there is no joined up thinking.”
But it is understood tenders have not gone out for companies to run the service in Colchester.
A First spokesman said: “We regularly work with Essex County Council to provide a frequent bus service in the area.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work together in the future.”
The park and ride saga has been rumbling along for more than a decade.
After years of talks, the county council chose the site in 2008 and planning permission was granted three years later. It was hoped it would be up and running within a year, but in August 2012, the county council said the park and ride would be ready by the end of 2013.
The start date moved back again to the autumn of this year before it was finally confirmed the park and ride would finally open next March.
County Hall has agreed to pay for the park and ride in advance while funding is finalised from the Government’s South East Local Enterprise Partnership.
To reach the town centre, the buses will be using a new road, to be called the NAR 3, which is being built through former the Severalls Hospital.
It had been due to open this summer, but looding earlier in the year delayed its completion and it is now due to open in December.