With usage down 15% and pressure on the City Deal Executive Board to deliver a reduction in congestion across the city, the Chamber claims that an effective strategic solution will have to include scrapping the controversial charges. John Bridge OBE DL, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “Cambridge’s biggest challenge when it comes to solving its congestion problem is that the incongruity between what Cambridgeshire County Council says and what it does. On one hand it claims to want to encourage the use of environmentally-sustainable and public transport. On the other simultaneously implements additional financial charges and added aggravation to an unnecessarily complicated ticketing process. The ticketing machines at the city’s park and ride sites are not easy to use at the best of times and need to be assessed if we are to start to encourage more users to leave their cars out of the city.
“Cambridge is crying out for a co-ordinated approach to tackling congestion in the city and with the City Deal board preparing to finalise their proposals we believe it is essential that the council gives consideration to the park and ride charges at the same time. If the council was to eliminate the charge, it would reduce the burdensome use of the payment machines and increase the financial incentive to park and ride.” The Chamber has written to Cllr Steve Count and Cllr Ian Bates to urge them to re-consider the £1 parking charges and create an increasingly co-ordinated strategy to tackle congestion.