Stagecoach have announced changes to bus timetables in West Oxfordshire which have divided some passengers and local councillors who feel these changes will now leave some passengers left behind.
The new changes are being made in and around Witney and will come into effect from Sunday 28th August.
The most significant change is to the S1 service which will continue to run every 15 minutes between Witney and Oxford but will now serve the Windrush Place development via Centenary Way in Witney West. It will also serve more of Carterton, running via Upavon Way and Alvescot Road (previously served by the S2). Buses will run the full route from Oxford to Carterton every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sundays.
However, the S1 will no longer serve Curbridge or Brize Norton but alternative connections are available on S2 and 233.
The S2 will now run from Oxford to Witney and Curbridge every hour and extend to Cheltenham every 2 hours and will no longer serve Carterton but alternative connections are available on the S1 and 233. This revised S2 service replaces services 853 and S2X which will be withdrawn.
For the 233 service there will be no changes to the current timetable but the 233 will now serve Brize Norton, replacing the S1.
There is no route change for the H2 service but journeys will only extend from Witney to Carterton at peak times. School day journeys to Burford School will continue to run as normal.
Whilst some areas may benefit from these changes it has left many frustrated with the lack of consultation and the disruption to current travel arrangements. Paul Hughes who lives on Shilton Park in Carterton and works in Oxford uses the S2 service which under the new timetable will no longer serve Carterton. Paul said, "As someone who used the S2 service every day to get to work the changes that Stagecoach describe as a 'tweak' are going to have a massive impact on my life by meaning that my bus journeys will be considerably longer and start much earlier. The worst example of this is that I regularly catch the 06:02am S2 to Oxford which currently gets me in to George Street at 06:35am ready to start work at 06:45am. With the changes I will have to catch an S1 at 04:49am to get me into Oxford at 06:02am. As you can see this is a very significant change."
The lack of consultation has also left local councillors frustrated with the sudden significant changes to timetables. District Councillor Ben Woodruff who represents the village of Curbridge has received a number of emails from residents who are not happy about the changes. Cllr Woodruff said, "I'm really disappointed at the lack of consultation from Stagecoach and Oxfordshire County Council on these service changes. I have received emails from residents who have moved to Curbridge due to its good public transport connections and who are now faced with significant transport changes with no prior warning. Stagecoach should have been working with the County Council, who are responsible for transport in Oxfordshire, to better understand the impact that service changes would have on residents. This lack of consultation is just not good enough at all."
Whilst some areas will see services reduced or significantly changed the 233 bus service will see only a slight change by now serving Brize Norton. County Councillor Liam Walker, who is also the shadow cabinet member for highways, said, "It's great that the 233 will remain with its current route as we have secured significant investment for this service over the past few years with contributions from developers to make the service half hourly and also run on a Sunday. I do however think it's a shame that other villages and towns will be impacted by these timetable changes. This does highlight yet again a lack of consultation from the Lib Dem led coalition at County Hall where despite them trying to get more people onto public transport they have let Stagecoach cut services whilst they instead focus on only improving services in Oxford to the detriment of rural Oxfordshire."
For full details of all services in Oxfordshire please visit: www.stagecoachbus.com