Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A good holiday

A nice rest!

Curly and his family have returned to South Shields after a four day break in North Yorkshire, camping in a delightful site just outside of the historic City of Ripon (the Scottish site decided that they were fully booked the evening before departure!). On arrival we drove through a street of old terraced houses which gave way to an area of industrial workshops, it would be easy to make the mistake that we had took a wrong turn, but eventually, at the end of street, we reached the entrance to the site which opens out into meadows and hills surrounding the banks of the River Ure. From the camp site we could walk into Ripon's Market Place in twenty minutes, so we were very fortunate to have just about everything that we needed close at hand.

On Sunday we spent the whole day in York, which surprisingly was very busy with about 95% of the City centre shops open and doing good business. The point of main interest for me, and it should be noted by our North-Eastern politicians, was the efficiency and excellent service provided by the City's park and ride scheme. Designed to reduce the inner city congestion and carbon emissions, five gigantic car parks are operating on the outskirts of the City and all are equipped with cctv, children's secure play areas, lock-up facilities for bicycles, waiting rooms, and tourist information points. The very modern buses were running every ten minutes on Sunday and run more often at peak times during the week; the fare was two pounds return per adult, and each adult was entitled to take two children under the age of sixteeen free of charge!
There was absolutely no need to feel uncomfortable about leaving your vehicle parked so far from the City, it made sense to use this service and the bus drivers' courtesy was of a very high standard too.

So when our politicians start to talk and plan how to reduce traffic congestion around Tyneside (using the massive grants that Blair's government has bestowed) they will do well to create park and ride schemes as attractive and successful as the York model.

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