A £1 car parking charge will be introduced from 22 July at each of the five Cambridge Park and Ride sites.

The charge was agreed as part of Cambridgeshire County Council's budget setting as each year the authority has to find around £1 million to run the sites and facilities.

Customers will also be able to later this week purchase parking tickets in advance online.

The £1 charge applies to any motorist who parks at each of the five sites - Babraham Road, Madingley Road, Milton, Newmarket Road and Trumpington. 

The £1 charge will allow motorists to park for between 1 and 18 hours. The first hour is free to allow people to drop off or pick up bus passengers or to collect purchases from the John Lewis distribution centre at Trumpington.

The new arrangements also allow for better enforcement of disabled bays to stop people using them who do not have blue badges.

There will be no barriers and parking tickets do not have to be displayed in the vehicle. The system uses cameras that have automatic number plate recognition on entrances and exits to check who has paid to park. Therefore, making it easy and simple for customers of the Park and Ride site.

Daily tickets can be purchased from ticket machines outside the main buildings on the sites. Discounted ticket deals can be purchased online or using mobile phones.

Parking for longer than 18 hours will be allowed but the following charges will apply

"¢ Between 18 and 24 hours  £10
"¢ Between 24 and 48 hours  £20
"¢ Between 48 and 72 hours  £30

The charge to park also applies to concessionary bus pass holders but they can still use their cards to travel on the buses.

The new system of advance tickets will allow users to book a weekly, four weekly or annual ticket in advance online.

Joseph Whelan, Head of Passenger Transport for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "In an ideal world we would not charge but every year the Council has to find an extra £1 million to look after these sites. The ticket price that people pay at the moment covers their travel but not the cost of providing or looking after the Park and Ride facilities. With Councils being asked to save millions of pounds from services such as social care or looking after children, authorities are left with a hard choice about where they can spend money or find income. We have tried to make the new system as easy as possible to use and believe using Park and Ride still remains one of the best and cost effective ways of getting into Cambridge."

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