In our last update to you, we said we would keep you updated on the termination of bus subsidies, which will end on 20 July. We also have some positive news on a pilot to support residents without suitable access to transport.
Updates from operators
We have been encouraging bus operators to explore how they may be able to continue to run a service without subsidy. We have also asked all operators to inform us as soon as they are able to provide a public update on the future of their services, in order to reduce the period of uncertainty.
Many operators are still considering their options, but some have already confirmed their intentions. Positively, whilst some services are not able to continue, there are several which will – either with the same level of service, or with an amended timetable and/or increased fares.
As we receive this information from operators, we are immediately informing the county councillors and parishes affected and then updating our public website:www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stconsultation
Please note that all the public bus services operated by our fleet services team will terminate on 20 July. There are only three routes which we are currently in conversation with parishes about, as they may be able to fund an amended service to continue.
Pilot to support residents without access to transport
We are developing an exciting new pilot scheme which will utilise fleet downtime and offer journeys to anyone without suitable access to transport.
The pilot will provide a completely flexible and affordable service where anyone can request us to provide transport (individuals of all ages, groups, schools, Parish Councils, etc.). We could run both one-off journeys and regular scheduled routes
Further work is required to develop this pilot, as it is a completely new way of operating council owned vehicles. We will present this pilot to Cabinet in May and agree a launch date ahead of the termination of bus subsidies in July.
Last month, we advised that we had published bus usage data for the public to review and comment. This has been on the website for 4 weeks and the opportunity for comment will close on Monday 18th April. Community First Oxfordshire will produce an independent analysis of this data and feedback, which will go to Cabinet in May along with a further update on the termination of bus subsidies and the pilot mentioned above.
We are advising the public to visit our webpages, which will be kept up to date with the latest information. This includes a list of all the routes affected which will be updated when bus operators confirm their intentions for the future of these services.
If you have any questions, please contact the Supported Transport team at SupportedTransport@Oxfordshire.gov.uk
Councillor David Nimmo Smith
Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND