The local authorities hope the change will make it easier to travel into Oxford for both work and leisure, contributing to the city’s return to a more normal situation.
It gives University and college staff who are returning to on-site working another transport option. This could relieve pressure on the University’s limited supply of parking spaces so that they can be reserved for those who need them most, such as staff whose disabilities or caring responsibilities mean taking public transport is impossible.
Staff can drive to the Park and Rides and then continue to their destination on foot, by bike or on the bus. Anyone using public transport must wear a face covering unless they are exempt from doing so for health or other reasons. Government guidance now states that anyone may use public transport, although it encourages people to use alternatives where possible.
Parking fees are being waived at the City Council’s Pear Tree, Redbridge and Seacourt sites, and at the County Council's Oxford Parkway and Thornhill Park and Rides. Parking machines will be covered until the end of the month to stop people using them; anyone who has already paid for August can request a month-long extension by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The councils also propose to install temporary bus gates to reduce traffic in the city centre and enable faster and more reliable bus services as well as improving the environment for pedestrians and cyclists.