Ipswich: Retailers get a Christmas boost to bring in the shoppers with free Park & Ride offer

Carole Jones and Mary Evans on one of the new Park and Ride buses.

Carole Jones and Mary Evans on one of the new Park and Ride buses. - Credit: Archant

Businesses in the heart of Ipswich are to get a major boost in the run-up to Christmas with free park and ride services on late-night shopping Thursdays.

For five Thursdays, from November 21 until December 19, the service from Martlesham and Copdock will be free after 3pm – on those days the last buses out of the town centre run about 9.30pm.

The deal was brokered by Ipswich Central – the Business Improvement District company which manages the town centre area – with support from the borough and county councils.

Ipswich Central Chairman Terry Baxter said it was “excellent news” for the town in the build-up to Christmas.

“I recently called for a park and ride deal for Christmas and I congratulate Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council for responding with this move,” he said. “Shopping in Ipswich this Christmas just got better.”

The first late night shopping Thursday comes days after the official Christmas lights switch-on – and the suspension of the Travel Ipswich work which has caused many problems for people trying to get around the town centre.

Work to renovate the Tower Ramparts bus station will be completed by then, and Museum Street should be finally reopened after months of closure.

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Ipswich Central is promoting the town as a major festive retail destination in a bid to lure shoppers from other major centres across the region.

Borough economic development spokeswoman Carole Jones said: “This Is really fantastic news for our town centre shops and for Ipswich market on the Cornhill.

“With this initiative and the roadworks in the town centre on hold, we’re hoping for a great Christmas”.

Mary Evans, from the county council, added: “We know that travel in Ipswich has been more difficult recently so we wanted to say thank you to everyone for being patient, bring a little festive cheer and support the town to have a fantastic Christmas.”