Special report: final curtain on Worcester's Perdiswell park and ride

SAD TIMES: Customers aboard the last park and ride to leave Perdiswell

FINAL TIME: Passengers on the return trip to the site

THANK YOU: Cards left for the staff on Saturday night

PARKED UP: The final two park and ride buses after the last day's work

STOP PRESS: An update for customers about Perdy the cat

EMOTIONAL: Passengers saying goodbye to a driver called 'Karen'

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

THESE images show just how much Perdiswell's park and ride meant to many people in Worcester - as it pulled away for the last time.

Bus user Peter Willis, 69, of Claines, took it upon himself to catch the final service on Saturday evening before the gates were controversially locked by council chiefs.

The final pick-up, which left Perdiswell around 6.30pm before pulling back into the site just before 7pm, signalled the end of an era for many of the regulars who relied on it for work, trips into town and friendship.

Among the smiling and sad faces, the images show a stack of cards left for the reception staff and drivers made redundant by the closure.

Mr Willis, a retired former WH Smiths manager who spent 30 years with the company in Worcester, said he was determined to capture the spirit of the day.

"It's a great shame for Worcester, I just felt I had to go as it's a bit of local history now gone," he said.

"It is sad but everyone on the final service was very friendly - one of them joked 'shall we stop off at the pub' on the way.

"Considering what was about to happen it was as jovial as it could be - there were no tears.

"On the whole everyone put a brave face on things. It was a pleasure to be there."

As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, metal fencing has now gone up around the site amid a mammoth security option costing £3,000 per month.

It also emerged yesterday the park and ride's stray cat, known as Perdy, was placed in the emergency care of the Worcester & District Cats Protection on Saturday night.

She has been sent to a foster carer's house in Malvern, and will see a vet some time this week before she is expected to be given the all-clear to be re-homed.

One mystery worker at the county council has come forward to say they would take her in, unless the cats protection find another taker in the coming days.

Maxine Stewart, a co-ordinator at the charity, said: "She is not a young cat and does have one or two health issues, but she is due at the vets this week for the all-clear, and hopefully she can be made available shortly."

Anyone interested in taking her in should call 07527 007 436.

Four buses on the defunct park and ride will be spruced up and the plan is to send them to an auction house in Manchester in October.

Five people have been made redundant, including the main driver pictured in these images, known only as 'Karen' to most of the users.

The closure was part of £1.6 million of public transport cuts by the county council.

It opened back in 2001 and usage peaked in 2008 at 450,000 yearly users, but it has been in decline since and fell to just 274,935 last year, costing £186,000 in subsidies.

Comments (3)

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9:16pm Wed 3 Sep 14

markskoda says...

Karen exemplified the very best in customer service, along with the rest of the team. I hope that they can find jobs quickly, preferably in the same line of work. Good luck to you all. What a shame that those beautiful buses are leaving the area.
Karen exemplified the very best in customer service, along with the rest of the team. I hope that they can find jobs quickly, preferably in the same line of work. Good luck to you all. What a shame that those beautiful buses are leaving the area. markskoda
  • Score: 3

3:13pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Marant says...

It's a shame for the people losing their jobs - but that Park and Ride was in the wrong place from the start. By the time you'd driven to it, you might as well have driven into town. To work Park and Ride schemes have to be more convenient than driving, and that one just wasn't more convenient for enough people. It wasn't exactly easy to get to. Putting it on the Hawford Roundabout would have been a better idea.
It's a shame for the people losing their jobs - but that Park and Ride was in the wrong place from the start. By the time you'd driven to it, you might as well have driven into town. To work Park and Ride schemes have to be more convenient than driving, and that one just wasn't more convenient for enough people. It wasn't exactly easy to get to. Putting it on the Hawford Roundabout would have been a better idea. Marant
  • Score: 1

4:27pm Thu 4 Sep 14

PrivateSi says...

Reserve Park'n'Ride for Christmas - and build another bridge and multi-storey... £5 a fortnight of benefits & tax breaks for a local bus pass for the unemployed / minimum wage + 25% and under and another £5 a week off tax breaks for FREE PARKING, nationally...
Reserve Park'n'Ride for Christmas - and build another bridge and multi-storey... £5 a fortnight of benefits & tax breaks for a local bus pass for the unemployed / minimum wage + 25% and under and another £5 a week off tax breaks for FREE PARKING, nationally... PrivateSi
  • Score: -2
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