Southend Council is trialling the new service, which will see visitors to the town being able to park at Southend Civic Centre car park on Victoria Avenue and then take the number 9 bus to the Kursaal on the seafront.
The new scheme will result in cheaper parking prices for families visiting the town and it is hoped that it will help reduce traffic generated by visitors to the seafront at busy times.
It will cost visitors only £3 to park all day at the Civic Centre, with the option of paying another £4 for return travel to the seafront for up to four people. Alternatively visitors also have the option of walking through the High Street and down to the seafront. This compares to the £12 all day parking at the Seaways car park during peak season.
During the trial, payment must be made via the pay by phone Mobon app, which is a new online payment system being rolled out to car parks across the Borough. Motorists simply need to download the app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, and purchase the time and location of the ticket you require. Alternatively, you can visit www.gomobon.com create an account and log in each time you park.
Once payment has been made, visitors will be sent confirmation either by text or email, which needs to be presented to the bus driver on the Number 9 service in return for their park and ride ticket. The service will take visitors from the bus stop on Victoria Avenue outside the Civic Centre to the Kursaal and back, running on the normal weekend timetable. The trial will start this Bank Holiday weekend and included Bank Holiday Monday.
New signs help visitors find free spaces
Alongside the new Park & Ride trial, the Council has now finished installing 19 new tourism signs, aimed at directing visitors to all the borough’s beaches. The signs are located between Cuckoo Corner and the Blue Flag beaches in Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness.
Mobile digital signs have also been placed along the A127 on the approach to the Seaways Car Park. When seafront parking fills up, these signs will re-route drivers and direct them to town centre car parking at York Road and Tylers Avenue, which are just a ten-minute walk to the seafront.
Cllr Tony Cox, Executive Councillor for Transport, Waste and Regulatory Services, said: “Anyone who has been to Southend-on-Sea on a busy summer weekend will know that the seafront car parks can fill up quickly. This sometimes results in cars queuing out of the car parks and onto the highway.
“Through this Park and Ride pilot and new signage, we are exploring ways of encouraging and incentivising visitors to park up at underused car parks at the same time as making it quicker and cheaper for them to get onto one of our award-winning beaches.
“We will closely monitor the uptake of the Park & Ride pilot scheme over the coming weeks to help determine whether it is rolled out more comprehensively in future years.”