WORKERS, pupils and students are being encouraged to get back on the buses with a money-off deal on tickets.

Bus operators Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Stagecoach are offering 30 per cent off the cost of 12 trip tickets purchased through the operator's websites or app.

The campaign, backed by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, is designed to coincide with the return of university students, pupils going back to school, workers returning from furlough and many employers relaxing their "work from home" guidance.

The special offer should encourage people to swap their vehicles for buses for their commute, and joint social media campaigns with positive messages on the benefits of taking the bus will also take place.

The month-long campaign will culminate on World Car Free Day on September 22 when drivers will be encouraged to leave their vehicles at home and use buses to help reduce congestion and carbon emissions and enhance air quality.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel managing director, said: “More and more people are already coming back to bus and we hope to welcome back more passengers this month. September is a big month for us to better understand what the 'new normal' is, so we can plan our services for the future with more clarity.”

Rachel Geliamassi, managing director at Stagecoach West, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Oxfordshire’s local councils to promote the huge benefits that bus travel offers to the community. Buses play a vital role in keeping Oxfordshire residents connected to the things that matter to them and offer a cheaper, more convenient, and more environmentally friendly alternative to car travel.

“We can’t wait to welcome more passengers on board and support residents to return gradually and safely to work, school, and leisure activities.”

Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said as a regular bus user herself, she knows how important the bus network is to the city. She said: "As more people start going back to workplaces or enjoying all that the city centre has to offer, I want to reassure them that the public transport system is available and safe to use. There are so many benefits to leaving a car at home and catching the bus. It’s better for our health, it’s good for our air, cuts congestion and makes our streets and roads safer for everybody. Come and join us on the bus.”