MANAGEMENT of the county council’s park and rides in Oxford will be done by the city council if a deal is agreed next week.

The move could see the management at Thornhill and Water Eaton park and rides carried out by staff of the city council’s trading company, Oxford Direct Services (ODS).

The county council would pay the company just under £300,000 a year for its work.

The contract will would start in September and last until the end of August 2024 initially. It could be extended by another two years, until August 2026, if the authorities both agree.

Owen Jenkins, the county council’s director of community operations, said: “Traffic, congestion and parking are big issues for Oxford. By working together with the city council we believe we can provide a better service for users and attract more people to the park and ride sites."

He added: "There are also savings and efficiencies for the county council, which will allow us to continue to focus on reducing congestion and improving air quality in the thriving city of Oxford and beyond.

“We will continue to focus on the park and rides and seek improvements wherever possible.”

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The city council currently runs its Pear Tree, Redbridge and Seacourt park and rides.

The latter is subject to a controversial extension – but that is not expected to be finished until 2020 at the earliest.

Together, there are 3.241 car parking bays at the sites. But that has been reduced by about 260 at Redbridge Park and Ride, where coach and lorry parking is being provided.

There are seven staff working at the county council’s park and rides and they will work for ODS.

Errant drivers parking without a ticket at Thornhill and Water Eaton might be caught more regularly by the new plan.

Currently, the county council’s staff are responsible for security and parking enforcement at their park and rides.

Their jobs are helped by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras already.

But the councils said that will made easier by mobile vehicles which pick up drivers who might not have paid or outstayed their welcome.

ANPR devices are used ‘for detection only’ and alert parking officers to any parking contraventions. Tickets are issued then.

Councils are no longer allowed to issue service penalty notices by post.

Simon Howick, Oxford Direct Services' managing director, said: "This initiative will create a single, uniform, park and ride service across the city, making the facilities easier to use and more attractive to visitors to Oxford.

“This change to the way the locations are operated aims to further reduce the number of vehicles that need to come into Oxford and so help reduce vehicle emissions in the city centre."

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The county council's park and rides have a total capacity of 2,093 parking bays.

The county council's cabinet has already signed off the plan.

The city council's senior councillors are set to agree it next Tuesday.