FURIOUS bus users turned up at Worcester's park and ride yesterday without realising it had been scrapped - and said they were driving into the city instead.
It came as these sad images show what is left of the mothballed Perdiswell site - a ghost town surrounded by ugly steel fencing aimed at keeping travellers and squatters away.
Yesterday was the first week day since 2001 that Worcester has not had a park and ride running into the city centre - and despite massive publicity around its closure it didn't prevent commuters turning up expecting to get on a bus.
Contractors working on behalf of Worcestershire County Council spent the weekend placing temporary metal fences around the site and blockading off all the entrances.
Your Worcester News can also exclusively reveal how the mammoth security operation, which includes patrolling of the site, is costing around £3,000 per month.
It also emerged yesterday that a raft of scaffolding will be erected around the reception to make it impossible to enter.
An eery silence greeted a steady trickle of motorists who had pulled in yesterday without realising it had shut.
Driver Nigel Rowley, 61, of Claines, said: "I was only going to use it to get into town for some shopping but I may as well drive now.
"It makes no sense to me. I was only on a bus last week and it was packed, so I don't know what's gone wrong.
"If the council was losing too much money why not put the prices up? All of us would pay a bit more to keep it going."
Fellow motorist Fran Bramwell, 57, of Woodland Road, Perdiswell, who works part-time in retail, said: "I can't believe it, it's ridiculous.
"I could drive every day but I don't want to pay the parking prices in Worcester or spend time trying to find a free space, this was ideal.
"It's terribly sad to see what's happened. It will never come back I suspect."
Perdiswell's final park and ride service left the site at 6.30pm on Saturday, following the controversial closure decision in June.
County Hall's opposition Labour group says it was not surprised commuters turned up.
Labour Councillor Paul Denham said: "People who use it regularly will be miffed.
"I talked to the contractors and was told current the fencing is a temporary measure, they are looking to erect permanent fencing around the entire site and place scaffolding around the reception to 'protect it' - clearly no expense is being spared.
"Think of all the millions spent on that site over the years, and now it's been fenced off."
Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for transport, said: "We've made it secure for obvious reasons - we have to be careful and ensure the site is protected.
"I did guess we'd have a few commuters turn up for the first couple of weeks, but it's been publicised everywhere."
He added: “Numerous articles have appeared in both the press and broadcast media, including several stories in the Worcester News.
“Paid-for-advertisements across the county's media have also been taken over the last few weeks, which has again included space in the Worcester News.
“In addition the changes have been promoted via the council's website homepage, social media, signs have been in place at the Perdiswell site for the last few weeks, on-board buses and street signage references are no longer in place.”
The park and ride's usage peaked in 2008 at 450,000 yearly, but it has been in steady decline ever since.
Last year it was used 274,935 times, costing 68p per passenger and it lost £186,000.
The council says some days just 200 cars used the facility, which lead to the Conservative administration deciding to close it as part of £1.6 million of transport cuts.
The land is owned by Worcester City Council, but under the lease deal County Hall has to keep it secure.
The lease runs until January 2015, by which time keeping it safe will have cost £15,000.
The Sixways park and ride, which goes to Worcestershire Royal Hospital during weekdays, is still operating under a reduced timetable.
The county council took away its entire subsidy for the Sixways service, which was used 66,000 times a year, but it is still running, albeit less frequently, after hospital bosses and LMS Travel struck a deal.
The number of departures from Sixways have been cut from 51 to 42 in order for it to still be in operation.