People huddle together in the cold rain at Park and Ride on Deans Ave, waiting for a van ride to get to Christchurch Hospital. PHOTO MARTIN HUNTER

People who lined up in driving rain for 30min to catch a shuttle to Christchurch Hospital have vented their anger.

On Monday, when the region was being drenched with rain, hospital visitors and patients endured terrible conditions. The Star went to the Deans Ave park and ride service and found about 30 people cold and wet waiting for the shuttle to arrive.

They included a child with pneumonia, elderly people, people on crutches, and a heavily pregnant woman. The size of the waiting room means people have to stand outside.

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Park and ride is run by the Canterbury District Health Board as a stop-gap measure until a permanent parking building can be built, to alleviate the hospital’s chronic parking shortage.

It uses three 12-seater vans to shuttle people to and from the site.

Land on Antigua St has been set aside for a hospital parking building, but it cannot be built until hospital services there are moved, which is set to take about three years.

In May, The Star campaigned to have Hagley Park’s Hospital Corner used for temporary car parking. But Mayor Lianne Dalziel and CDHB chief executive David Meates said at the time it was not an option they were considering.

People huddle together in the cold rain at Park and Ride on Deans Ave, they wait for a van ride to get to Christchurch Hospital. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

On Wednesday, CDHB support services manager Rachel Cadle said the health board did not receive any funding for the service or revenue from the car park, which was run by a private operator.

That meant it did not have the resources or facilities to provide enough shelter, she said.

“On wet days, it is almost impossible to provide for everyone without permanent facilities.”

She said the CDHB was considering using bigger busses, and had requested that the car park operator resurface the car park.

The CDHB had received 120 comments about the service since it began, and more than 80 per cent had been positive, she said.

Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner would not say if she had asked for other hospital parking options to be looked at, saying it was not part of the ministerial portfolio.

“The park and ride model has been relatively successful, but obviously there are some issues, including what happens in wet weather. I encourage the operator to take another look at its model,” she said.

Labour Canterbury Issues spokeswoman Megan Woods said it was a very serious situation, and an urgent solution was needed.

If elected, a Labour Government would consider a temporary car park in Hagley Park as one potential solution to the problem.

Have your say: Email gabrielle.stuart@starmedia.kiwi with your views on the park and ride

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