Theatre breaks by coach boosted by new coach bays
New coach spaces have been created by Westminster City Council, the local authority which regulates the streets in the West End of London and that’s good news for the future of theatre breaks by coach There will be 24 new coach bays created just around the corner from Drury Lane and the Strand, within easy striking distance of so many West End theatres. The map above shows exactly which theatres are going to benefit most from being able to receive drop offs by companies offering theatre breaks by coach and they are:
- The Aldwych Theatre – currently showing ‘Top Hat‘
- The Novello Theatre – currently inhabited by the relocated Mamma Mia!
- The Lyceum Theatre – long term venue for Disney’s The Lion King
- The Savoy Theatre in the Strand – currently home to Cabaret, with a transfer of Let It Be to follow
- And in the other direction, The New London Theatre for War Horse and
- The Shaftesbury Theatre for Rock of Ages followed next year by ‘Burn the Floor’ and ‘From Here to Eternity’
- Back along the Strand within easy reach are also: The Vaudeville and Adelphi Theatres for the play ‘Uncle Vanya’ and musical ‘The Bodyguard‘ respectively.
The extra capacity for coach parking will make it easier for theatregoers arriving by coach to be dropped off as close as possible to the entrance foyer. The coach driver will then be able to park up just around the corner giving him or her time to grab a bite to eat and drink and take at least an hour’s rest before picking up the happy showgoers again to deliver them to their hotel. At present the number of coach parties that can be easily accomodated is partly limited by congestion and parking restrictions around the whole of the central London area.
A large group of theatres in London’s West End are set to benefit from the new coach parking scheme introduced recently by Westminster City Council.
The new spaces or bays for 24 vehicles of any kind with at least eight extra passenger seating capacity as well as the driver have been created in the road called ‘Kingsway’ within yards of famous theatre streets Drury Lane and the Strand. Existing kerb and road spaces have been remodelled with a view to alleviating traffic and parking problems in the area and to offer better access to the theatres by coach.
Support for the scheme has come from both theatres and also coach operators, with the terms and conditions remaining similar to existing coach parking bay schemes in Central London. The bays are charged at a flat rate of £4 per hour from 10am to 4pm and from 7pm to 11pm, with a maximum stay of four hours.
It is said that the coach drivers will also be entitled to buy discounted drinks and food in a nearby cafe, but has not been disclosed which one, and drivers are known to very loyal to their favourite caffs you know.
If the statistcs are to be believed then around a fifth of West End visitors arrive by coach, rising to 40% amongst theatregoers. Staggering isn’t it – over a third of the occupants of the paid seats in those grade 2 listed buildings arrived by bus, not by chauffer driven car or by tube, not by bicycle rickshaw or on foot or by tram train or cable car but by coach or bus. So there you go.
“We are delighted at the positioning of the new bays as this will further encourage coach operators to feature London theatre trips with so many theatres conveniently positioned around the corner. Having spoken recently with operators they can now plan with confidence, issuing firm parking instructions for drivers, knowing the numbers of bays available. This means they can pick up from theatres in a timely manner preventing congestion and wasted waiting time.” – John Wales, a Coach Tourism Council board member.
“We are delighted to have this valuable new facility, so close to the West End. We want to ensure that the joy and magic of London theatre is accessible to audiences across the country, and this is a great example of a scheme that will open up the West End for thousands of theatre-goers every year.” – Mark Rubinstein, president of the Society of London Theatre
Transport For London’s interactive Coach Parking map: