A PARK and ride site will be free for the next two days in a bid to get more visitors coming to Weymouth and Portland for the Olympics.
Dorset’s Olympic Board says the parking charges have been dropped because there haven’t been as many visitors to Weymouth as originally planned for.
The Echo reported yesterday that traders said they are losing up to 50 per cent of their business as visitors shun the Olympics in the borough.
The Monkey’s Jump park and ride site at Dorchester is free all day today and tomorrow and will be free on Friday from 2.30pm.
Free shuttle buses will take passengers from Monkey Jump to the Swannery transport hub in the centre of Weymouth.
Two other car parks – Preston Beach and Mount Pleasant in Weymouth – will remain subject to the £10 parking charge throughout the Games, as the main sites serving ticketed spectators
A fourth site – at Kingston Maurward – will be kept in reserve in case of additional demand, but will not otherwise operate. Should it open, it will also be free at the same times as the Monkey Jump site.
Angus Campbell, Chairman of Dorset's Olympic Board, said: “We are doing what we can to encourage people to come to the town. 
"This reduction of prices for the park-and-ride facilities will, we hope, make it an even better value day out to an Olympic venue and boost numbers accordingly.
"Weymouth has a tremendous amount on offer for visitors and we have had rave reviews from those who have already come to soak up the Olympic atmosphere.
"We hope to see many more in the coming days as we approach the excitement of the medal races in the sailing events at the weekend."
Hugh Sumner, the ODA’s director of transport, said: “We hope our free parking initiative will get thousands of extra visitors in to Weymouth and Portland to enjoy their beaches, shops and attractions. Weymouth and Portland is very definitely open for business but visitors should plan ahead and check before they travel.”