"Thank York It’s Friday” sees introduction of late evening Park & Ride every Friday until Christmas
York’s city centre is supporting the high street with a new initiative bringing together York Business Improvement District, First York, City of York Council and York Retail Forum. “Thank York It’s Friday” runs every Friday until Christmas, encouraging local people and visitors alike to spend Friday evenings in the city centre.
“This is a scheme driven by local traders and designed to get locals back into the city centre to start their weekend a little earlier. With late night shopping until 7pm – and some stores until 8pm - and opportunities to socialise with friends whilst still taking advantage of the Park & Ride, the last bus to each Park & Ride site now departs at 11pm,” comments Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID. “We know that it takes joined-up thinking to make this kind of initiative happen, which is why we’ve worked so closely with First York and City of York Council to make York Retail Forum’s idea come to life.”
Phil Pinder of York Retail Forum think that ‘Thank York It’s Friday’ could encourage many people who work in the city to spend Friday evenings after work shopping and socialising. “York’s early evening economy has often been limited to early-bird diners, with most shops closing at 5.30pm, but we know that we have both locals and visitors looking for things to do during the end of the working day, but before they are ready to eat out. ‘Thank York It’s Friday’ means that the city centre can rival the out-of-town late night shopping offering, whilst offering more opportunities for dining out in the many central restaurants. Anyone working in the city who has used the Park & Ride for their morning commute, can now fit in some ‘Friday Feeling’ retail therapy before a visit to the theatre or cinema – and still collect their car. What a great way to start the weekend!”
Key retail outlets have already confirmed that they will open until 7pm on Friday evenings, including Brown’s, Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, TK Maxx, Whittards and WH Smith, the additional opening until 8pm at Debenhams, Crabtree & Evelyn, Love Cheese, Lush and Pavers Shoes. More retailers are expected to follow suit in the run-up to Christmas.
Councillor Keith Aspden, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, said: “The new late night shopping and Park and Ride service on Fridays is welcome. It’s pleasing to see so many partners working together in this way to encourage residents and visitors to enjoy our city centre and its many attractions for longer in the evenings.”
Councillor Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council, said: “This partnership initiative by York Business Improvement District, First York, City of York Council and York Retail Forum will encourage visitors to shop and socialise in the city for longer on Fridays, encouraging people to start their weekend early. It’s a welcome boost for York’s evening economy.”
The late night Park & Ride will initially be subsidised by York BID, though it is hoped that the number of additional people making use of the service in the coming months will enable it to be self-sustaining in the longer term.
Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director at First York, said, “We’re proud to operate one of the most successful Park & Ride sites in the country, which helps save customers the hassle and cost of parking in York with just a short bus trip to and from the city. We’re excited to be working with other local partners to develop the Park & Ride service and to offer later trips for customers wanting to spend more time in the city, or for those travelling back into York via train, wanting access to their car for their onward journey.”