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Changes on buses are just the ticket
COMMUTERS and bus companies in Oxford have hailed the first 48 hours of the new joint-ticketing system a “great success”.
The new tickets, smartcards and streamlined timetables on the city’s five busiest routes were launched on Sunday and commuters spoken to by the Oxford Mail reported no problems.
Ellie Kennedy, 21, from Brize Norton, caught a bus at Frideswide Square on Monday.
She said: “I think it’s great. I used to work on the Oxford Brookes buses and I know the chaos tickets can cause.
“It’s really good, it seems quite old-fashioned to have all these different tickets.”
Imelda Spivey, 32, from Wallingford, added: “I think it has worked well, it’s a good idea. As long as they don’t start putting the prices up.”
A new SmartZone ticketing system will also allow passengers to buy week-long, monthly or annual passes on new smartcards.
Prices of single and return tickets have not increased.
The changes do not apply to night buses or routes including the 700 run by smaller companies.
Bus Users UK’s Oxford representative Hugh Jaeger said: “To the best of my knowledge, everything for the bus companies has been going well.
“I’m hoping we are blazing the trail for the rest of the country, we are the first to set this up.”
The firms have spent £7.4m on new double decker buses and more than £2m on new ticketing.
They have been working with Oxfordshire County Council for two years to introduce the changes.
Mr Jaeger added: “One thing I was really disappointed with though was the fact that the realtime updates at bus stops were not updated on Sunday.
“The county council knew about this change for 18 months, so I was disappointed to see they didn’t deliver and the signs just read ‘refer to timetable’.”
Council cabinet member for transport Rodney Rose said: “We will continue to work with the bus companies as the system beds in.”
Oxford Bus Company operations director Louisa Weeks said: “It looks as if the hard work and exhaustive testing has paid off.
“We knew the real test was always going to be the first working day of the week.
“The signs are encouraging and we are sure that as passengers fully understand the advantages the new joint ticketing system offers it will go from strength to strength.”
Stagecoach spokesman Chris Child added: “The first day of the new coordinated timetables and Oxford SmartZone ticket has proved to be a great success, with large numbers of people seeing the benefits of being able to get on the first bus that come along.”