Six weeks in, Newcastle’s park and ride service between Broadmeadow and the city is being labelled a success – so much so that Newcastle City Council has confirmed it will offer the service for free on New Year’s Eve.
Since early November, people have been able to park their vehicles at McDonald Jones Stadium on weekdays and catch one of the free buses that travel into the CBD every 15 minutes between 8.30am and 6.30am, with return services between 4.30pm and 6pm. The service will be available to transport New Year’s Eve revellers in and out of the city for the December 31 fireworks and festivities.
Free buses will leave the stadium on a continuous loop to the corner of Scott and Watt streets – near the old Newcastle railway station – between 4.30pm and 10.30pm.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the park and ride buses would help make New Year’s Eve a hassle-free night.
"We want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for the community to access our New Year's Eve celebrations," she said. "Park and ride is a free, safe and easy transport option, and this service is being proudly delivered in partnership with Revitalising Newcastle."
About 6500 passenger trips have been recorded as of the end of last week, since the weekday park and ride service was launched, according to council data.
More than 1000 people have registered to use the service and a council survey found that 93 per cent of users had recommended the park and ride to family and friends.
Twenty per cent said they either rode or walked to Broadmeadow to catch a bus, or they had someone drop them off at the stadium.
Council CEO Jeremy Bath said the park and ride had been “a huge success” in the first six weeks, but cautioned that it was still “early days”.
Council also announced on Friday that more than 500 parking spaces had re-opened in the city’s east end after a “bump out period” for the Newcastle 500 Supercars event. Mr Bath said the east end now had almost 150 more parking spaces than before the renewal scheme began.