People living in an area of Oxford are calling on the county council and bus companies to reinstate a bus service, after their local route was scrapped.

Bus services along Hinksey Hill were withdrawn in January following a Bus Network Review undertaken by Oxfordshire County Council.

A petition set up by the Residents’ Group at Hinksey Hill, which calls for the council and Oxford Bus Company to reinstall a bus route, currently has 250 signatures.

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In a letter to Oxford Bus Company managing director Phil Southall, resident Christine Chater wrote: “The X1, X2 and X3 buses now all depart Abingdon and go to Oxford via the A34 rather than coming down Hinksey Hill.

“This means that seven buses each hour leave Abingdon but none serve this large community.”

Oxford Mail: The proposed bus route which residents want to serve Hinksey Hill The proposed bus route which residents want to serve Hinksey Hill

Ms Chater pointed out that many people living in the area have contacted the bus company, asking them to reverse the decision.

She continued: “At no stage has there been any engagement with you in spite of polite requests for a meeting.

“We believe this is because in any discussion, it would become apparent that there is a solution e.g., X3 could come via Hinksey Hill serving three stops, without any greater distance travelled and no time lost.”

“It is galling for residents to see all the above buses using Hinksey Hill on a daily basis as a quicker way to access Oxford when the A34 is busy,” she added.

The lack of service has left people and businesses feeling isolated, with those who wish to travel into Oxford forced to make their way to Redbridge Park and Ride first.

Oxford Mail: Residents have launched a petition to call for a new bus service. Picture: Ed Nix Residents have launched a petition to call for a new bus service. Picture: Ed Nix

Resident Alison Maitland said the walk along Hinksey Hill and across the A34 to the Park and Ride is “quite scary”, especially late at night.

She said: “There is no way an older person could do the route.

“There is no way I would let my daughter, a child, do that route on her own.”

She added that she once walked the route with her husband but “even with him I did not really like it or feel very safe”.

“I certainly would not do it on my own, ever,” she added.

Mrs Maitland exclusively filmed her journey home for the Oxford Mail, you can watch here>>>

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Mrs Maitland said: “We were could understand if we were asking for another bus to be put on, we do understand the economic climate.

“There are seven buses that all turn onto the A34 where they cannot pick anyone up. There is no bus stop now between Abingdon and the Park and Ride, there is nowhere to drop people off or pick people up.

“Why cannot one of them, every hour, come by the community?”

Oxford Bus Company responds: 

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company’s interim managing director, said: "We are aware of the petition relating to the withdrawal of bus services to Hinksey Hill.

“Stagecoach services to the area were withdrawn in January, following a Bus Network Review conducted by Oxfordshire County Council to proactively stabilise the county's bus network following the huge impact of the pandemic for the public transport industry. 

"We have discussed the appetite of local residents for a bus service to Hinksey Hill with Oxfordshire County Council. However, there is no commercial case to divert our services via Hinksey Hill, and the council has not so far determined any requirement for supported services to be provided to this community.

“We appreciate this remains disappointing news for the residents of Hinksey Hill, but with the serious financial impacts on public transport operators from the COVID-19 pandemic we cannot operate services which have no realistic prospect of commercial viability."

Oxfordshire County Council responds: 

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesperson said: “Oxfordshire County Council recognises that the provision of adequate and effective public transport is a vital part of a thriving community; however, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the bus service network, with patronage in Oxfordshire at 75 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

“As a result, operators are faced with the prospect of ‘right-sizing’ their networks to the current levels of demand.

“It is therefore unfortunate that service reductions have had to be made by bus operators, which is what led to the withdrawal of Stagecoach service S8 and its replacement by Thames Travel service X1 to a slightly amended route in January 2022.

“The Council has made a number of approaches to Thames Travel in relation to this matter, but they are adamant they are unwilling to make any changes to their services at this time and the Council has no powers to force them to alter their position.”

“Because of the likely low numbers of passengers, the Council is not able to provide financial support to an alternative service, which would never be commercially sustainable. At the present time the Council does not have a dedicated budget for non-commercial bus services, except where such provision can be made for new development sites through the planning process.”


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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