Parking plea for the disabled at Bedford’s Park and Ride

Parliamentary candidates for Bedford and Kempston, Mid Beds and North East Beds for the 2015 election. PNL-150428-131607001
Parliamentary candidates for Bedford and Kempston, Mid Beds and North East Beds for the 2015 election. PNL-150428-131607001

The number of diabled parking bays have been halved at the town’s park and ride facility in Ampthill Road.

But newly-elected Green Party councillor Ben Foley has urged the council not to put its eco-drive ahead of the needs of the disabled.

Cllr Foley (pictured) said: “It’s a good thing that the council are catering for people who use electric cars, but it’s absolutely vital that there are always enough accessible parking spaces for the disabled.

“If the council has done enough research, and if they know that four spaces will always be enough then fine.

But if they haven’t done that work then it’s a big problem and they need to provide additional spaces elsewhere.”

Disabled parking bays are larger than standard bays, and are usually placed in the most accessible part of a car park.

Cllr Foley added: “I think that a lot of people don’t understand that it’s not just a question of convenience.

“Some disabled people have had to give up jobs because they can’t reliably get a parking space, while others find it far more difficult to do simple things like shopping.”

Elstow Park And Ride is open seven days a week, with buses running up to four times per hour. Parking is free, and people only pay the bus fare into town.

Free travel is available for people with concessionary bus passes.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said “Following the installation of four electric vehicle charging bays, as part of our commitment to provide cleaner and greener transport, there are 18 disabled parking bays at the Bedford Park & Ride.

“The council takes our responsibility to provide appropriate parking for disabled people very seriously.

“Regular inspections are carried out and we will continue to monitor this to ensure that there continues to be disabled parking bays available for those who need them.”

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