The city’s inaugural effort at providing a multi-week, park-and-ride operation drew to a close last Saturday, December 31 after a very busy 13-day schedule. The cost to taxpayers to keep about 3,700 vehicles out of downtown traffic was estimated between $45,000 – $50,000, according to information provided to Historic City News today.
There were a total of six satellite parking locations and three separate shuttle routes established. The operation’s schedule was developed to provide an alternative transportation service during peak visitation of the Nights of Lights.
A city spokesperson said, “The city appreciates the cooperation of private and governmental entities that made their parking areas available for the program and thus contributed to the success of this initial effort: St. Johns County Administration, St. Johns County Health and Human Services Department, R. B. Hunt Elementary School, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, and the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.”
While most routes ran from 1:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., adjustments had to be made based on the availability of some lots because of their weekday use by regular clients and employees.
Light-Up! Night, November 19th, and the three Saturdays in December prior to Christmas, represented nearly half of all shuttle passengers reported over the 13 day schedule. The single busiest day was December 10th; reporting over 1,500 passengers. The free Nights of Lights Park and Ride Shuttle drew 11,170 passengers, according to the City’s department of public affairs.
While vehicles using the satellite parking were not counted, by using the generally accepted industry calculation of three-people per vehicle, there were an estimated 3,726 vehicles parked with the number reaching 400 to 500 cars on the peak days.