When I was Leader of Oxfordshire County Council I sought to challenge some of the orthodoxies and received wisdon that could take hold in local government as in most large organisations. One of them was that highway engineers and planners always knew best. They were committed to the concept of getting people out of their cars onto bicycles and into buses. As a part of this strategy, they promoted Park & Rides in Oxford and one of the first such innovations in the country. I had no problem with them as a concept and even used them to catch the bus from Oxford to London whcn I had meetings close to Victoria.
What bothered me was the bleakness of the Park & Rides. You could not buy a newspaper or a coffee or a bun. You could not leave your car for a service or a valet. There were always reasons why it was not possible. I pushed and pressed for some lateral thinking but never really made progress to secure change. I am therefore delighted to learn that change has finally started and I thank Chief Executive Joanna Simons for sending me photographs of the coffee facility that is now on offer at the County Council’s Park & Rides. One is shown to the left. I hope this is the first step in making Park & Rides more customer focussed and that motorists will be able to leave their cars for a valet or for collection for a service. I may well look in when I am passing for a coffee on the move!