Kingsway bays to open all day?

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Leading Kent operator is against any reduction in space; Westminster is to review operating times

Kent operator Scotland and Bates is the first to respond publicly to the suggestion from Westminster City Council that the number of coach bays in Kingsway could be reduced if occupancy rates do not improve (routeONE, News, 6 April).

Loss of any parking on Kingsway would be ‘disastrous’, says Kent operator

Partner Georgina Bates says that the loss of any coach bays in Kingsway would be “disastrous”. Westminster suggested that some provision could be withdrawn if occupancy during their later period of opening (1900-0000hrs) does not improve, but Mrs Bates counters that the three-hour closure of the bays during the evening peak dramatically reduces their usefulness.

Westminster has now confirmed that, based on operator and driver feedback, in is reviewing the operating times of the Kingsway bays.

“The majority of groups arrive in London by 1700hrs to allow for free time and time to eat before going to see a performance at a theatre,” says Mrs Bates.

“By preventing coaches from using the Kingsway bays between 1600-1900hrs, drivers have already had to find an alternative place to park,” she says, adding that the £4 per hour charge is disproportionate compared with other coach parking areas in Westminster. Most are free after 1830hrs, as are spaces in other boroughs.

“We regularly use the Kingsway bays for parking between 1000-1600hrs and believe that they are well used during these times.”

Drivers commenting also note that the bays would be much more useful if they were available between 1600-1900hrs, with one describing that period as “when we really need to use them.” Others add that the proximity of trees and street furniture also make access difficult.

In response to Mrs Bates’ point, Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, says: “We thank all those who have given feedback on the use of the Kingsway coach bays.

“Westminster City Council wants to work closely with coach operators and drivers. As a result of these comments, we are reviewing the operating hours at Kingsway among other measures to see if we can find solutions to help this facility work better for its users.”