Nearly 100,000 journeys in HSE Park and Ride scheme

Staff car park at Merlin Park

The staff Park and Ride service between Merlin Park Hospital and University Hospital Galway has been hailed a huge success by the HSE.

There were a total of 97,913 journeys on the service in the first eight months of this year, the HSE has confirmed.

The service was put in place to transport staff between the two hospitals, to reduce pressures on car parking spaces at UHG and to combat traffic congestion in the city.

So far this year, between January and August, some 48,377 journeys were made from UHG; with some 49,536 journeys departing Merlin Park.

The cost of the service for that period was €152,880, which works out at about €1.50 per journey the HSE is subsidising its staff travel costs.

For the period June to December last year, 2015, there were 64,707 journeys made between the two hospitals.

That was 33,640 from UHG and 31,067 from Merlin Park.

The total operating costs for the six months of 2015 was €128,329.

The figures were supplied to Galway City councillor, Niall McNelis, who suggested the Park and Ride was so popular maybe the HSE should explore the possibility of opening it up for use by the public, patients and their families.

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer with Saolta Hospital Group, said the P&R service between the two city hospitals was a massive success.

Ms Cosgrove said Cllr McNelis’ suggestion could be explored but she said currently there were not enough parking spaces at Merlin Park to facilitate its expansion.

There is room, however, for more car parking spaces, and this would be looked at, she said