Cotswolds Discoverer transport pass making tracks to expand

Oxford Mail: From left, Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, First Great Western Cotswold Line stations manager Teresa Ceesay, Jo Burgon and Andrew Pulham at Moreton-in-Marsh station From left, Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, First Great Western Cotswold Line stations manager Teresa Ceesay, Jo Burgon and Andrew Pulham at Moreton-in-Marsh station

A PUBLIC transport rover ticket for the Cotswolds could be expanded to become a pass for the region, including admission to visitor attractions.

After a successful two-year trial in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds Discoverer pass is to become a permanent feature.

The ticket includes rail travel from First Great Western stations between Oxford and Moreton-in-Marsh, and between Swindon, Stroud, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, and from Gloucester to Yate.

It is valid on buses including the 853 between Oxford, Witney and Cheltenham and the X9 between Witney, Charlbury and Kingham.

Nicola Greaves, the information and interpretation officer of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, which has led the project, told a launch event on Friday: “We have been very encouraged by the results of the trial. We now want to grow the scheme, make more people aware of it and get more people to use it and we would also like to see it grow to become more of a Cotswolds pass as well, bringing in visitor attractions.”

Conservation board member Jo Burgon, who is chairman of the steering group for the pass, said: “This isn’t just about inviting people into the Cotswolds. It’s not just a tourist pass, it’s for local residents as well, and should help them to discover the Cotswolds themselves but also to venture out of the Cotswolds from time to time.”

And Mr Burgon added that he hoped making a success of the Cotswold Discoverer could help to improve rural bus services.

He said: “One of the great challenges is the weekends, because there are very few Sunday bus services, so I’m hoping that one of the outcomes of this will be sufficient demand that it will become more viable to increase the number of services, so that weekend visitors can benefit from this pass.”

Andrew Pulham, a director of Pulham’s Coaches in Bourton-on-the-Water, which operates buses in West Oxfordshire and Gloucester-shire, said: “It has been great to see it’s not just tourists using the ticket. We have seen great advantages for local people being able to reach attractions and also getting out further afield from the Cotswolds to places like Oxford.

“Since the scheme was launched, our sales alone are in excess of 400 tickets.”

A one-day Cotswolds Discoverer pass costs £10 (£5 for children) and the three-day version £25 (children £12.50). Discounts are available for holders of national railcards, except the Family Railcard. The tickets can be bought at railway stations and on participating buses.

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