Cornmarket, one of Oxford’s busiest shopping streets, has been traffic-free since 1999 but before then shoppers had to share the busy route with buses and other vehicles.

Buses have been have been banned from the street since 1999 as part of the Oxford Transport Strategy.

But as recently as 2018 transport consultants Phil Jones Associates proposed a 'two-loop bus system' which would feature some buses being reintroduced to Cornmarket.

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It involved one loop using Longwall Street, High Street and Cornmarket Street but the proposal did not go ahead.

One retail expert, Keith Slater, said at the time he was not in favour of the move.

He said: "I don't think traders would want the buses stopping in the street.

"The footfall in Cornmarket is very regular – it peaks every day at 1pm – and boosting the number of shoppers will be achieved by filling the empty units, not bringing back buses."

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And Graham Jones, of ROX - Promoting Oxford Business, which represents city centre traders, said in 2018 he had spoken to a number of traders in Cornmarket Street and they were not in favour of the return of buses.

He added: "Of course it would enable connectivity but I don't think it would boost trade in Cornmarket."

Hugh Jaeger, a spokesman for the Oxford branch of Bus Users UK, said in 2018 he was in favour of buses returning to Cornmarket Street because it would improve connectivity for passengers.

He said: "It's time to reconsider the all-out ban on buses in Cornmarket.

"Bringing them back would repurpose a street that fewer shoppers seem to be using for shopping.

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"Buses would only use the street in one direction and I don't think they would actually stop in the street itself."

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.