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Visitors urged to use a brighter way to travel when visiting Sunderland Illuminations

Preparations are underway for this year's Sunderland Illuminations.
Preparations are underway for this year's Sunderland Illuminations.
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The annual Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light are set to get underway and visitors are being urged to ditch the car.

Event organisers are encouraging people to use public transport, including improved park and ride services, to and from the seafront.

It will soon be time to light up the night on Wearside.

It will soon be time to light up the night on Wearside.

More than 1,000 parking spaces are available in Sunniside and St Mary’s car parks in the city centre, with the ticket for the car parking space entitling up to five passengers from that car to free return travel on the Park and Ride bus services.

Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Coun John Kelly, said: "We really want to encourage more and more people to use the dedicated event park and ride service this year.

"Not only will it reduce congestion on the roads, it will reduce the stress of finding one of the very few parking spaces available on the seafront, and stress of getting stuck in traffic.

"With so many visitors expected the event area is subject to a traffic management scheme so parking in residential areas is not available. Using the park and ride service or other public transport methods such as Tyne & Wear Metro will make the journey to the event site so much easier.”

The mini version of the Northern Spire, which was made for last year's illuminations.

The mini version of the Northern Spire, which was made for last year's illuminations.

Coun Kelly added: "A lot of planning has gone into meeting the travel and transport needs of everybody planning to visit the Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light, and I’d like to thank all our public transport partners for their help.

"We all want our visitors to enjoy themselves, and making it as easy as possible for everyone to get to and from the event without having to worry about traffic and parking is one way of helping to achieve that."

Stephen King, Commercial Director of Go North East, said: "Although last year was our first time supporting the Sunderland event, we were pleased to see record attendee numbers and receive great customer feedback on-board our services and across our social channels.

"We look forward to supporting the Sunderland Illuminations again this October and November."

Buses will run every ten minutes from Keel Square via the Wheatsheaf, Seaburn Metro station and Sea Road, and will drop off at Seaburn tram shelter.

Return journeys will be from any bus stop on the seafront starting at the tram shelter going southwards, and the bus will run towards Bungalow Café, along Harbour View and then back to Keel Square.

Further details of the event and on-line tickets for the Festival of Light are on sale at www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/illuminations.