The park and ride service which for years has ferried Chessington and Surrey shoppers to Kingston for Christmas will be scrapped, Kingston Conservatives have announced.

Use has plummeted over the past few years, Tory figures show, from more than 53,000 passengers in 2006/07 to fewer than 20,000 last Christmas.

Councillor David Cunningham, cabinet member for transport, said falling use and rising costs meant the scheme was no longer viable.

He said: "It's not as popular now as it was. We looked at whether we could reduce it to the premium times, but surprisingly there's no saving in doing that."

Lib Dem Chessington South councillor Rachel Reid said: "I just think overall it's disappointing. I've no doubt it will be strongly challenged.

"We know it's been declining. I think a lot of people will miss it.

"If that does happen I'm very keen to know what the other possibilities will be."

Coun Reid said she had stopped using the service when it was moved out of Chessington World of Adventures' main car park.

Coun Cunningham denied the move would clog Kingston's streets and central car parks with extra traffic at Christmas.

He added: "There is always space in one of the other car parks.

"We're going to do quite a big publicity campaign so [shoppers] know they can go to the others."

Coun Cunningham said he will attempt to improve public transport links from Surrey into Kingston, which he said were "diabolical."

Last year Kingston Council paid £92,462 of the total £226,696 cost of the scheme. That contribution was set to rise to £110,430.

Councillors will vote on whether to scrap the scheme at an infrastructure committee meeting Thursday, September 11, at 7.30pm in the Guildhall.

Charting the fall in ticket sales

  • 2006/7 -- 53,665
  • 2007/8 -- 52,674
  • 2008/9 -- 47,115
  • 2009/10 -- 38,305
  • 2010/11 -- 33,369
  • 2011/12 -- 28,275
  • 2012/13 -- 24,037
  • 2013/14 -- 19,488
  • 2014/15 (projected) -- 16,656