A DISCOUNT bus scheme is being launched for workers travelling in and to Colwyn Bay which could provide them with ten weeks’ worth of free journeys over the course of a year.

Colwyn BID has teamed up with Arriva Bus to offer the BID businesses the opportunity to secure discounted travel for their staff and families as part of a drive to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

Discounts will range from 10-20 per cent depending on the number of journeys booked in advance and would be uploaded onto a smart card, similar to the Oyster card scheme in London.

Later this year the new Conwy County Council offices - housing a total of 700 workers - will open and not only will that create significantly more commuters, it will put pressure on parking provision.

Colwyn BID says the new scheme, due for launch on Sunday, July 15, will enable their members to offer employees an incentive at no cost to the business.

It hopes workers will take full advantage to save money on their travel expenses, with the potential for free travel every fifth week, or entice those who are currently using the car to get to work to try out public transport instead.

Another benefit for staff is that they and their families can use the scheme to purchase discounted tickets for travel not only in and to the Bay of Colwyn but across North Wales and North West England.

Cheryl Williams, Colwyn BID Project Manager, said: “The main objective is to make the BID area a better place to work, live and visit.

“A lot of employers give their staff incentives and this is a way of our members offering something to their employees without a cost.

“This will encourage people to use public transport. It can be a struggle to find parking and with the council coming there will be half the amount of spaces for the amount of workers.

“This can help take away the worry of trying to find somewhere to park.

“We know everyone isn’t going to take it up but it’s an advantage that is available to businesses who are part of the BID.

“We’re giving them something back for their levy. The only cost to the BID is the marketing. Arriva haven’t asked us for anything.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from our businesses who are looking forward to it coming in to practice.”

She added: “Arriva have previously worked with Chester BID so we asked if they could come in and discuss the scheme with us and see if it was something that could help us.

“We looked at it and thought it was something that would be really advantageous to our BID levy payers.

“Not just that though, it’s something that can benefit employees and their families.

“It’s a really positive scheme for everyone. It ticks all the boxes.”

Mike Kent, Business to Business manager at Arriva, says the scheme is easy to use with a number of ticket options available – flexible 5, 10 and 20 day, weekly and four-weekly

He said: “We work with a number of direct employers and business districts where they are looking to promote public transport.

“We’ve come up with bespoke packages that can be passed on to a business or all businesses that are part of a district.

“They and their staff can then tap into discounted tickets to and from work.

“We set up a hidden URL which is shared with staff and then they can go on and purchase a journey which is then loaded onto a smart card, similar to an Oyster card. It’s that straight forward.

“The longer the duration of ticket the better the discount. It ranges from 10-20% discount so purchasing a four-weekly ticket will secure the biggest discount.

“Tickets last for six months and it covers the whole of North Wales and North West England.

“So if you get the train over to Liverpool to have a day out you can use Arriva buses over there and get discount.”

Colwyn BID and Arriva ran a mini survey in the lead up to the launch, which had more than 100 responses, to understand workers’ travel habits and to see how best the bus firm can tailor its services.

Mike said: “Working in partnerships like this is key for us. We ran the questionnaire before the launch and that has enabled us to get feedback with a really good level of responses.

“It’s not just about working on discounts, it’s about shaping our bus services going forward so it’s important to understand people’s perceptions.

“It’s becoming more and more difficult to park so this scheme gives people a different option.

“And employers can use it as a benefit when employing and retaining staff.”