HIGHWAY chiefs have been accused of mismanaging the park and ride into the town over the busy Shakespeare Birthday weekend.
Some 35,000 people were reported to have flocked to Stratford to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, but critcs say the park and ride service on Bishopton Lane was not geared up for the numbers of passengers.
The park and ride and the train station provide parking for 520 cars which meant only a small proportion of people attending could be accommodated.
And an angry resident, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted The Observer after she and her family were caught up in the ‘chaos’.
She said: “Warwickshire County Council keep saying they’re strapped for cash and there could have been an good opportunity to make money at the park and ride but it was missed.
“It was chaos. Even before 10am there was a queue 100 people long and cars were still arriving – lots of them ended up parking in the train station because it was so busy.
“People were getting very irritated because buses were just sat there and it was obvious there were no extra buses running to accommodate us all. It was cold in the morning too but the sheltered area was closed.
“We waited about half an hour before we were able to get onto a bus. The driver didn’t charge us because we had all been waiting so long and would have to pay on the journey out of town anyway.
“There were 300 to 400 people queuing by the time we got on the bus.”
While waiting to catch the bus back after enjoying the celebrations, the family discovered from a fellow passenger there were no buses running on Sunday despite the Shakespeare Marathon and Half Marathon set to draw in the crowds.
A county council spokesperson said: “We sympathise with the difficulties and frustrations experienced by people attending the special event in Stratford.
“Due to the volume of visitors to the town, various road closures, and the high number of vehicles on the roads then any additional bus capacity would have had little impact as they attempted to negotiate the road system.”
The park and ride is also currently in the news over the county council’s plans to introduce car parking charges.