USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT FOR A WEEKEND OF PLAIN SAILING
Visitors heading to Liverpool for The Tall Ships' Races 2008 are being urged to leave their car at home.
An estimated 800,000 people are expected to flock to the UK's European Capital of Culture, from Friday, July 18 to Monday, July 21, to witness one of the largest Tall Ships' fleets ever seen in British waters.
A total of 60 Tall Ships - including some of the world's biggest - will be on show in the host port from 12 noon on Friday in the Albert and Canning Docks systems and two miles north in the Wellington Dock and Sandon Docks system - where people can actually board the vessels. The Royal Navy's RFA Lyme Bay will also be open to the public at Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
To handle the visitors travel operators Merseytravel have deployed every carriage in their train service across the Merseyrail network - as the region also prepares for the Open Golf Championships which tees off today at nearby Royal Birkdale.
If people do use the car, the Liverpool Culture Company has also co-ordinated the biggest park and ride service ever staged in the region.
Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said: ''Being Host Port for the start of the Tall Ships' Races is a huge honour for Liverpool and underlines why the Mersey is such a huge asset to the city and our European Capital of Culture celebrations. The scale of the event be it transport, police or dock operations is unprecedented for any UK city this year. If people follow the advice that's being given then we should be set fair for an unforgettable weekend.''
The Tall Ships Park and Ride service will provide up to 6,000 spaces every day at: Aintree Racecourse; Speke Hall Avenue - near to John Lennon Airport and Hooton Old Airfield on the Wirral. All are AA signposted and parking is £8 a day. There is no coach parking on these days. The first buses from each site to Paradise Street inter-change, which is opposite the Albert Dock, will leave at 9.15am. The last Tall Ships Park and Ride bus from Paradise St interchange is at 9.15pm. This service will operate at 10 buses per hour on all four days. The fleet of 10 buses are supplied by Arriva North West and Merseytravel as part of their Official 08 Sponsorship packages.
Liverpool will also be operating a bus shuttle service to Wellington Dock, from Friday to Sunday, every 10-15 minutes from St Nicholas' Place (between the Liver Buildings and Crowne Plaza Hotel) from 10am-10pm. A total of 15 shuttle buses will be in operation here. This service is £1 each-way but this will be free to Park and Ride ticket holders that day. It will also be free to anyone holding a Merseytravel ferry, bus or rail ticket valid on the day - and also for Saveway and Trio holders. OAP's go free if they show their pensioners travel pass.
Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, said: "The planning that has gone into this week has been immense and we fully expect it to be one of the busiest few days we have ever seen on the public transport network. The collaboration we have had across the board, including our operating partners, has been fantastic, now our attention will turn to delivering the best public transport network we possibly can. We hope people heed our advice and leave plenty of time to travel, use public transport and try to avoid peak times wherever they can."
Public viewing runs from 10am to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday. Wellington Docks, which has been transformed with 26 miles of cabling, hundreds of public toilets, new bridges and road surfacing, will close on Monday as vessels will be leaving from 5am for the Parade of Sail which begins at 2pm on the Mersey.
As part of Liverpool's celebrations as Host Port the city will also be staging the Shanties 08 Music Festival, various street entertainment and on Monday special aerobatic displays. HRH Princes Anne will also be visiting the Albert Dock on Friday and will be boarding two vessels.
TALL SHIPS' RACES - TRAVEL TOP TIPS:
Travel by rail:
For Wellington Dock - Use the Southport train on the Northern Line. Get off at Sandhills, take a left out the station and walk straight to Wellington Dock.
For the Albert Dock - James Street Station is closest. Take a right out of the station on to The Strand and then left to The Albert Dock.
Wellington Dock will be closed to the public on Monday 21 July as the ships will be moving from their berths from 5am to gather on the river for the Parade of Sail, which starts at 2pm.
Travel to the Park & Ride sites:
From the north
Leave the M6 at junction 26. Take the M58 to junction 1 then take the A59 to Aintree Racecourse. Follow the AA Signs for the Park & Ride site.
From the east
Leave the M62 at junction 6 then take the A5300 South Knowsley's Express Way– take the exit for the A562 west Speke Boulevard then go onto the A561 and follow the AA Signs for John Lennon Airport.
From the south
Take junction 20 off the M6 and travel west on the M56. Take junction 15 off the M56 and go north on the M53. Take junction 5 on the M53 and follow the AA Signs or the Park & Ride site.
From the west
On the A550, A41, A494 or A5117 please follow the AA Signs for the Park & Ride site.
If people wish to bring your car into Liverpool city centre, there is limited on street parking and play and display sites within the city. The nearest car parking facilities to The Albert Dock are the Kings Dock multi-storey car park and the Q-Parks for Liverpool One. We advise you to use the Park & Ride sites or city centre car parks. Log onto www.ncp.co.uk
Parking for disabled visitors:
There are some blue badge parking at Princess Dock car park and at William Jessop Way car park, two minutes from the shuttle bus service at St Nicholas Place. The Lord Nelson Tall Ship in Wellington Dock is fully compliant for wheelchair users. All city centre car parks have blue badge parking bays. Log onto www.ncp.co.uk
Mersey Ferries run a regular service between Wirral and Liverpool city centre. The service runs from Woodside in Birkenhead and Seacombe in Wallasey.
For more information log onto: firstname.lastname@example.org
For coach travel into Liverpool please contact www.nationalexpress.com The National Express coach station is a 5 minute walk from the city centre and a 15 minute walk to the Albert Dock. The S1 bus service will take you from the coach station in Norton Street to the Albert Dock.
The best viewing areas to see the Parade of Sail on Monday, July 21 (from 2pm-4.30pm)
Liverpool - from Otterspool Promenade to Princes Parade. The Pier Head is closed to the public due to canal works.
Sefton - from Crosby Beach to Formby Point. Use the Northern Line on Merseyrail to access these points.
Wirral - From Seacombe Ferry to Fort Perch Rock. A shuttle bus will operate from Hamilton Square Station on the Wirral Line to Seacombe.
Note: There are numerous road closures in place in Wirral for the Parade of Sail. For details log on to www.wirral.gov.uk
TALL SHIPS USEFUL NUMBERS and WEB ADDRESSES
Host Port official site: www.tallshipsliverpool.co.uk
European Capital of Culture official site: www.liverpool08.com
Traveline Tel: 0871 200 22 33
Liverpool Tourism www.visitliverpool.com
Merseyside Police www.merseyside.police.uk Tel: 0151 709 6010
Wirral Council www.wirral.gov.uk
British Transport Police Tel: 0800 40 50 40
Radio Merseyside - 95.8fm www.bbc.co.uk/england/adiomerseyside/
Transport Direct www.transportdirect.info
For all public transport Information log onto www.merseytravel.gov.uk or phone Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.