A MULTI-million pound scheme to battle congestion in one of the region’s most popular resorts has been hailed as a huge success.

The first full season of Whitby’s new park and ride system saw it carrying thousands of passengers over the spring, summer and autumn periods.

And since its launch in April this year the scheme has exceeded expectations by breaking even financially.

The county executive member for passenger transport, Cllr Chris Metcalfe, said: “This has been a tremendous result for Whitby.

“Inevitably there was the odd teething problem, but overall the scheme has done what we hoped it would – allowed tourists to continue to experience the delights and attractions of Whitby, while cutting down dramatically on the number of vehicles clogging up the streets of the town.”

The Park and Ride was developed by North Yorkshire County Council with the aid of funding from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund with the total cost reaching £3.6m.

Across the first season, the scheme carried 131,438 passengers – or the equivalent of almost 66,000 return journeys into Whitby. The busiest period was the August Bank Holiday weekend, when almost 6,000 used the service.

Fare takings totalled nearly £120,000 while additional revenue came from the associated pay and display parking which was introduced to assist in reducing congestion, which provided a further £180,000 – all set against total operational costs of £295,000.

Local county councillor David Chance, who is also the local cabinet member for tourism, said the scheme has made a “real and significant” improvement to the town.

A county council spokesman said potential inconvenience caused by the parking management arrangements has been offset by a system of permits which allowed exemptions from the measures for local residents, businesses, hotel guests and the like.