Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council are providing free parking at all Oxford’s five Park and Ride sites throughout August.
The update will make it easier to visit the city centre, rediscover Oxford, and spend money in the local economy.
The City Council is waiving all parking charges at its Pear Tree, Redbridge and Seacourt Park and Ride sites, while the County Council is doing the same for Oxford Parkway and Thornhill Park and Rides.
The free parking, which will be available every day between Saturday 1 August and Monday 31 August, is being done to support businesses across Oxford and protect local jobs.
People are encouraged to roam beyond Oxford city centre to visit shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs and other businesses in local centres including Summertown, Headington and Cowley Road.
Earlier this month, both councils shared updates on the temporary bus gates proposals for Oxford city centre, which aim to assist Oxford’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The bus gates aim to create an environment which is safer for pedestrians and cyclists. This is to be achieved through ensuring quicker, more frequent buses on less congested roads. It will thus allow potentially reallocating road space to create an improved pedestrian and cycling environment.
Under normal conditions, vehicles use the city centre as a cut through. The aim is to reduce the use of city centre as a through-route, thereby cutting traffic levels and congestion within and on the approaches to the centre, to reboot the local economy and support local businesses.
Drivers will not have to do anything new when they arrive at the park and ride sites – they will be able to simply park their vehicles, wear a face covering and get straight on the bus. Although car parking will be free, fares for the bus journeys will still apply.
Parking payment machines will be covered during the month to stop anyone using them.
People who have already paid for August parking in advance can request a month-long extension to their permit by emailing email@example.com.
Eat Out to Help Out
The free parking will also help make it easier for people to support Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ deal, which provides a discount of up to 50% in selected pubs and restaurants on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday throughout August.
People can find restaurants participating in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme by visiting the Find a Restaurant section of GOV.UK.
Further business support
The free parking comes on top of a wide range of support that the City Council has provided for businesses in Oxford, including creating zones for outdoor dining across Oxford, a one-way pedestrian flow system to help people turn to the city centre safely, new bike parking, and tens of millions of pounds of financial support. The City Council will be launching a publicity campaign in August to further encourage people to visit Oxford.
“We want to support people to stay in work and businesses to stay local. Oxford is recovering from one of the toughest times we’ll ever know and the Council is supporting our local economy by offering free parking at Park and Rides during August. We want to support people to rediscover Oxford and spend money locally. Visitors can either park and pedal to the city’s highlights, making use of the new cycle parking installed by the council, or hop on a bus in the knowledge their journey will be quicker because cars are not clogging up streets.”
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford
“We are pleased to be able to help support the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative by making it even easier to get into the city centre.
“Our two park and rides provide excellent connections to the city centre where there are so many brilliant restaurants waiting to welcome customers old and new. If you help support the local economy by eating out, we will help out with the ride home.
“The county council is also working hard to improve active travel opportunities across Oxfordshire to make it easier for people to visit town centres by cycle and on foot so that they can support local businesses wherever they live.”
Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet Member for Highways Operation and Delivery