Scunthorpe General Hospital visitors given park and ride medicine
Health chiefs hope to cure long-term parking headache with public bus service
Patients and visitors will be able to use Scunthorpe General Hospital's park and ride service under new plans to free up spaces and cut congestion.
The hospital, which has a history of parking issues, has run a scheme for its staff since April 2009, with buses departing from the secure car park at Glanford Park.
Now the service, which runs every 15 minutes and will cost 50p each way, is being extended to patients and visitors, in a bid to ease parking chaos around the hospital. The trust is making a significant investment to extend the service – although it has not revealed how much it will spend.
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But bosses say they believe the cost will be offset by people paying to use the buses, which will run from 8.30am until 5.50pm, Monday to Friday.
The buses will call at stops outside the hospital's out-patients entrance on Cliff Gardens and the main entrance on Church Lane. The service, which starts on Monday, has been welcomed by residents and patient groups – and those behind it are confident it will make a difference.
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Jug Johal, head of security, transport and car parking at the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I am not aware of many hospitals which do not have a parking issue.
"Now we have been able to move some of our staff into the park and ride, we have resolved the staff issue.
"We have seen a significant improvement for staff and we are trying to replicate that for the public by opening this service up to them.
"By opening up our existing park and ride service we hope members of the public will use the new service, in which they will be able to park their car at Glanford Park and get the bus to the hospital.
"This will mean they will not have to face the queues that sometimes happen in our car parks at peak periods."
For those travelling, bus passes will be accepted, passengers aged under five will travel free of charge and those under 14 will pay a half-fare.
Visiting times at the hospital are 3pm to 4pm and 6.30pm to 8pm, although some wards allow visitors outside this.
The car park at Glanford Park provides up to 350 spaces and is equipped with CCTV and two help points, which link to security at the hospital.
Latest figures released by the trust show the buses, which have 27 seats and room for another 17 standing passengers, were used by members of staff 3,688 times in April.
The hospital has 888 parking spaces, 275 of which are for patients and visitors – and 26 complaints have been logged with the trust in the last financial year relating to parking at the hospital.
Trust statistics show an average of 1,394 vehicles used the spaces for patients and visitors per day in April.
Jim Allcroft, 76, of Churchill Avenue, Brigg, has struggled to park at the hospital when visiting his wife, Amber. He said: "Anything which relieves the car parking at the hospital must be a step in the right direction."
Neighbouring Church Lane residents also welcomed the move. Michael McInerney, 70, who has lived on the street for 50 years, said: "It is fantastic because a lot of the time the buses are riding around empty. There are gaps in Church Lane for limited parking, but it is a through road and it is not good."