CHRISTMAS shoppers this year will be able to hop aboard the Park-and-Ride in Carmarthen.
The countdown to the festive season starts on November 24 with the switch-on of Carmarthen’s Christmas lights and the Park-and-Ride as will be operating right up to 7pm on Christmas Eve.
The service has been running Monday to Saturday all year carrying on average 164 passenger journeys a day.
The shuttle service, operated by First Cymru plying between Nantyci Car Park and the town centre, usually peaks in the run up to Christmas with heavily laden Christmas shoppers happy to let the convenient bus take the strain to get to and from their parked up car.
The original popular service started on 2007 when the St Catherine’s development work began and the mart car park was lost. Service use peaked in 2009 with more than 5,000 passengers a week during the construction period.
In those days the service was free and more frequently and was paid for by developer contributions.
Developer funding came to an end mid-2011 and Carmarthenshire council kept it going as a paying service but usage slowly declined. In 2015 the authority entered into a funding partnership with the Hywel Dda University Health Board to expand the service to include runs to and from Glangwili Hospital. The Park-and-Ride operates from Nantyci car Park where parking remains free and bus travel to and from the town centre or the hospital will be only £1 for a day return ticket with free travel for children under 16 if accompanied by an adult.
County executive board member for transport services Cllr Hazel Evans said: “The Park-and-Ride service takes all the stress out of Christmas – less time queueing for or seeking parking spaces means more time to browse for those perfect gifts. The buses are fast and frequent and I would urge shoppers and office users to give it a try and in so doing helping to sustain the service.”
Fares for passengers starting their journey at other stops, Blue Street, bus station bay 7; Spilman Street, St Peters bus shelter; Tanerdy, Nash Avenue bus shelter; Opposite hospital entrance bus shelter, will be comparable to other local bus services, and passengers will be able to buy or use return tickets, 12 trip tickets and west Wales Rover tickets.
Full timetable information can be found at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales