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Christmas Park and Ride Schemes

Published on December 9th 2005.

Whilst I’d hate to confirm the stereotype of women drivers, I have to admit, I’m not the best. After having a driving lesson every week from the age of 17 to 21, I finally passed my test after six (or was it seven?) failed attempts. Now, I’m not bad going in a straight line, and I think I’ve finally mastered turning right, but what sends me into panic mode is car parks. More specifically, a city centre car park on a Saturday afternoon in the run-up to Christmas. Not only do you have to queue for ages but there’s always some idiot behind you, getting closer and closer, trying to push you forward, like there’s somewhere to go.

No matter how organised you think you’ve been by buying all your presents in June, there’s always going to be someone you’ve forgotten, so wipe that smug look off your face now. That last minute dash into town at the weekend will be pretty much unavoidable, however for those in the know, the fight for car park spaces is.

For the third year, the Christmas Park and Ride scheme is up and running. The idea is simple; park your car for free at the Siemens car park (that has 500 spaces) on the Princess Parkway in West Didsbury and for the minimal fee of £2 (children under 16 ride for free) a shuttle bus will take you directly into the city centre and bring you back when all your shopping is done.

The shuttle bus driver can stop to let you off at numerous points on the city centre route, including the Christmas markets on Albert Square, the Royal Exchange, and The Printworks.

The Park and Ride scheme is jointly funded the City Council, Manchester City Centre Management Company and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority.

Councillor Neil Swannick said: “This is a great scheme which takes shoppers right into the heart of Manchester; they can also use the free Metroshuttle buses linking key destinations in the city centre. Park and Ride is great value, convenient, safe, and above all, it can play a valuable part in reducing the amount of congestion.”

  • The car park at Siemens opens at 8.15am on a Saturday and 9.45am on a Sunday
  • The first bus departs at 8.30am on a Saturday and at 10am on Sunday
  • The last bus from the city centre to Siemens is at 6.30pm on Saturday and 5.50pm on Sunday
  • The car park closes at 7.45pm on Saturday and 6.30pm Sunday

And for those of you who are willing to brave the city centre car parks then the NCP Printworks car park at the Shudehill Transport Interchange is offering free parking from 6pm to 12pm, Monday to Saturday throughout December.

Pam Wood

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