Town council approves funding for 'stride and ride' minibus service for train commuters
A 'stride and ride' service for Bishop’s Stortford train commuters is to be set up after the town council agreed to underwrite a three-month trial of the minibus shuttle to the railway station.
The scheme is the brainchild of deputy mayor Cllr Holly Drake.
It will transport commuters from Thorley Neighbourhood Centre to the station, with four weekday departures in the morning and six return journeys in the evening.
The trips will be scheduled to coincide with the most popular trains. A weekly ticket, which must be booked in advance, is set to cost £17.50.
Once the service is up and running, there may be scope to sell spare seats to occasional travellers. In the event of driver sickness or other service disruption, users would receive a text advising them of cancellations.
Cllr Drake emphasised that the initiative was not a park and ride but was designed for Thorley Park, Bishop's Gate and St Michael's Mead residents to walk to the pick-up point near Sainsbury's.
Last week the town council's finance and general purposes committee recommended that £2,000 be set aside to cover any shortfall in revenue during the pilot period.
The set-up costs are expected to be met through grants from East Herts district and Hertfordshire county councils. Stansted Airport will also be asked to support it.
Ultimately the service is expected to be cost neutral when it is fully operational, but East Herts Council has offered to cover 50% of the tab if required.
Once the full council approves the recommendation, it is expected to take up to three months to complete statutory paperwork for the service and launch the commuter stride and ride.
Cllr Drake said that she had received a positive response since the idea was first mooted.
Cllr Colin Woodward said: “It may be small, but it’s a significant step in achieving modal change.”