Park-and-ride system ‘to save users $1000’

Hamish Heard
A new parkandride service in Geelong will save users $1000 a year while eliminating the city’s parking woes, according to a councillor.
Geelong’s council has given the system a thumbs up after a threemonth trial of the scheme to ease traffic congestion in Geelong’s central city area amid a parking shortage.
Economic development portfolioholder Shane Dowling said the new service would ferry passengers between the central city area and pickup points at Eastern Park and Belmont.
The Eastern Park service would save regular users $1000 a year despite the introduction of a $2 daily fee, he said.
Up to 120 innercity workers used the trial service each day but the City expects patronage to increase to about 300 for the permanent system.
Workers will park at Eastern Park or under James Harrison Bridge on the south bank of the Barwon River to ride buses to and from city workplaces.
Public buses run at 10minute intervals through Belmont, while 24seat buses would run a similar schedule for two hours from 8am and 4pm on weekdays from Eastern Park.
“Our aim is to encourage alternatives to private vehicle use for accessing central Geelong,” Cr Dowling said.
“At present, the day rate for parks in central Geelong is $6, so the $2 parkandride option would save a regular user some $1000 a year.”
Belmont users would save around $600 a year, with bus fares at $1.80 each way.
Cr Dowling said the closure of several privatelyoperated car parks in the city area had forced council to introduce the service.
“Alternatives such as parkandride services reduce congestion and save money for those visiting central Geelong daily, such as citybased workers.”
Meanwhile, central Geelong councillor John Mitchell welcomed a City Hall announcement that a councilrun Free City Bus would return this summer. The service ferries passengers around central Geelong.