Big changes at one car park and free taxis – how York is keeping the city open to Blue Badge holders

One of the new disabled bays in Monk Bar Car Park. Photographs: Richard McDougall
30 Jun 2020 @ 4.49 pm
| News

The decision to extend York’s footstreets, in order to allow for more social distancing as the city reopened, was widely welcomed.

However that decision did impact on one particular group of residents – Blue Badge holders.

Blue Badges are issued to people with disabilities which affect their mobility. The scheme enables them to park closer to shops, restaurants and other places they want to visit.

By extending the pedestrianised zone to cover places including Lendal and St Helen’s Square, City of York Council temporarily took away many of these disabled bays.

To compensate, the council has transformed 40 spaces in Monk Bar Car Park into disabled bays.

Shuttle service

The new-look Monk Bar car park

However, for many Blue Badge holders, the car park is too far away from the city centre. So the council is also providing a free taxi service from the car park into the heart of town.

This shuttle service will see Hackney cabs make regular trips from Monk Bar Car Park to the back of Barnitts on St Andrewgate.

Blue Badge holders will be able to arrange the return journey after being dropped off.

The council has compiled a leaflet with this information and more.

It says: “We do understand the difficulties that will be caused by not allowing Blue Badge holders to park in the city centre, but we hope that you can understand and support the really important reasons for doing this.

“We also hope the additional measures we are putting in place will go some way to continue to allow you to access the facilities that are re-opening in the city centre.

“The council is exploring a further extension of the hours into the evening, to coincide with the reopening of the hospitality sector.

“During the footstreet times, barriers (staffed for an initial period) will be in place in Goodramgate and Blake Street to control access, but emergency vehicles and the Dial and Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.”

Divided opinion

The decision to create 40 disabled bays in Monk Bar Car Park has divided opinion.

Some believe it will discourage drivers into town. Phil Pinder, of York Retail Forum, tweeted: “Why no consultation with city centre business on this? This will cost hundreds of thousands in lost parking revenue, as well as push even more people to shop elsewhere.”

But others welcomed the scheme. Claire Davies on Facebook said: “We’ve lost most of the disabled parking spaces in the actual centre of town so hopefully this combined with the taxi service will be a welcome addition.”

More information

Dial and Ride offers a service for people with difficulty walking or using public transport. Specially adapted buses offer a door-to-door service from your home to the city centre or out of town retail parks and supermarkets. To contact Dial and Ride, please call 01904 551441.

Shopmobility is reopening at Piccadilly car park. As well as providing the usual service, staff will also be able to help direct people to other car parks and provide on the day information about car parking availability.

Shopmobility is a registered charity that provides electric scooters, wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs for hire to enable people to enjoy the shops and attractions in York.

To contact Shopmobility, please call 01904 679 222 or email [email protected]

Anyone needing help because they are directly affected by coronavirus and have no other source of help or who are struggling financially, should email [email protected] or call 01904 551550. The helpline is open seven days a week.