New routes for Oxford

Bus Users Oxford has welcomed the new Route 210 service that will see buses return to Witney and Chipping Norton via villages in Wychwood, from 12 February

The buses, run by West Oxfordshire Community Transport, will restore a weekday service to five villages who have been without a bus since 2016. Many other communities in Oxfordshire, however, will still be without a service and Bus Users Oxford is concerned that local councils are becoming too reliant on community operators to plug the gaps left by cuts to subsidies.

The group is also concerned that the growing number of operators in the area will make joint ticketing even less likely, despite the fact that it makes bus travel much simpler for passengers.

Hugh Jaeger, Chair of Bus Users Oxford, believes solutions are available: “There are simple ways to raise enough money to fund buses that are necessary but not profitable. Free car parking puts West Oxfordshire District Council out of line with every other district in Oxfordshire. Charging people to use car parks would provide an income to restore buses to cut-off communities.

“Another way is to add a few pounds a year to each household’s council tax. But it seems the Council would rather spend council tax on subsidising cars and congestion than end the isolation of rural residents who do not have use of a car.”

Hugh has laid down a challenge to the Council. “These are odd priorities for a district council in such an affluent part of England. Bus Users Oxford challenges West Oxfordshire District Council to put people before cars. Find a way to put villages such as Stanton Harcourt back on the bus network. It won’t break the bank!”

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