Proposed Park and Ride price rises could increase traffic congestion and discourage people from visiting the town centre, according to Shrewsbury BID.

Shropshire Council is consulting on a range of changes to public transport fares, and Shrewsbury BID (Business Improvement District), which represents more than 500 town centre businesses, has criticised the proposed changes to Park and Ride fares.

The council is proposing to increase the main fare from £1.60 to £2, remove the group ticket that allows up to five people to travel for £2.50, and scrap the 50 per cent concessionary fare discount. The council says the fares have not been increased for a number of years, and the proposed £2 fare is in line with other Park and Ride services in the country.

But Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said he was concerned about the proposals.

“We see an improved Park and Ride offer as being vital to providing easy access to the town centre, as well as being integral to the ongoing strategy of reducing traffic in the town,” he said.

“Ticket prices are a big factor for people, which was clearly demonstrated when the BID funded free travel on Wednesdays over Christmas which resulted in a 38 per cent increase in passenger numbers.

“Increasing the standard fare, removing the concessionary pass discount and removing the group ticket without improving the experience or service in any way would effectively incentivise people to drive into the town centre, and may even put them off visiting completely.

“Removing the group ticket would clearly be at odds with the hierarchy of the new car parking strategy introduced in November.

“Without a group ticket, it would be cheaper for two adults to drive and park in some town centre car parks for a full day rather than using the Park and Ride, which would clearly be counterproductive to the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan’s aim of reducing town centre traffic.

“Furthermore, we think that student discounts should apply throughout the year not just in term time.”

Mr Slater said the BID had suggested alternative proposals to the council which would increase revenue for the service but still support the town centre and wider economic growth.