Improved park and ride scheme on offer for Lyme Regis and Charmouth

The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre who have just recieved an award from The Royal Geographical Soci

Charmouth is part of the new park and ride route - Credit: Archant

An improved park and ride service will be operating in Lyme Regis this year - and for the first time ever will incorporate Charmouth.

The service launched earlier this month and will continue throughout the Easter holidays, operating as normal from the Charmouth Road site.

Lyme Regis Town Council has this year worked in partnership with Charmouth Parish Council to operate a service which runs between both communities.

Not only will passengers have more choice about where they can travel, but there will be three double-deck buses to deal with the volume of visitors and a more frequent service to provide a more efficient service.

Passengers will be able to buy an ‘all-day’ ticket and hop on and off the bus as many times as they like, so they can enjoy the benefits of both Lyme Regis and Charmouth in one day.

The park and ride will be open for the peak visitor periods throughout the year, including the early May Bank Holiday Monday, the Whitsun half term, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend, and the school summer holidays.

The service will operate from around 10am until 7.30pm and buses will be running every 15 to 20 minutes.

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As well as all the usual stops in Lyme Regis, including Holmbush car park, the post office, and Cobb Gate Square, the buses will stop at St Andrews Church, Georges Close and Newlands Holiday Park in Charmouth.

Lyme Regis mayor, Cllr Brian Larcombe, said: "I’ve been a long advocate of a Lyme–Charmouth dedicated bus link that enables a shared service and park and ride exchange trip that traverses either resort for local residents and tourists wishing a change of scenery while on holiday, and I’m delighted we are trialling it for the season.

"I and the clerk and deputy clerk have had exploratory discussions with Charmouth Parish Council over the last 18 months to determine whether there was common support and traction to the idea. 

"This has culminated in the pilot for this year’s upcoming season.

"Hopefully, it will prove to be of mutual benefit to both Lyme and Charmouth and underline the value of the park and ride and the part it plays in helping reduce traffic volumes on our narrow streets.

"The cost is marginally more than the present singular park and ride, and the level of uptake and benefit will be evaluated at the end of the season. 

"If it proves viable and of value to both resort communities, all parties can look to its continued operation."

As this is a scheduled service, even local residents would be able to use the service to travel between Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

The joint service between the two locations has been welcomed by Lyme Regis Town Council and Charmouth Parish Council and it is hoped it can offer benefits to visitors, businesses and residents alike.

"We have nothing to lose and potentially something useful to gain, but as they say, ‘you don’t know ‘til you try’ and it will all be subject to the end of season evaluation of the numbers," Cllr Larcombe added. 

"I hope the idea proves a success for the benefit of less traffic volume and congestion on our streets; a new resident and holidaymaker offering for both towns, and encourages park and ride usage levels to inform the future options of Strawberry Fields."

Cllr Peter Noel, chairman of Charmouth Parish Council, said: "As chair, I have been in discussions with the mayor and town clerk of Lyme Regis on a monthly basis to talk about the potential of the new bus service which has ultimately now been discussed and approved by the Charmouth Parish Council and which I hope will become an annual feature as it is sure to benefit lots of visitors and residents.

"We have also been discussing other ways in which we might help each other and making sure we are both aware of potential funding and support from Dorset Council and elsewhere."