WE ARE sorry Hilary Grime has been experiencing teething troubles with the new joint ticketing system in Oxford (Oxford Mail, August 4).

The changes represent the biggest ever alterations to Oxford’s bus routes and when we were planning the new timetables we did numerous surveys, so that we could strike a three-way balance between:

* providing buses at an attractive frequency

* providing sufficient capacity on those buses,

* but also reducing the total number of buses by a substantial amount to satisfy the county’s ambitions to improve the pedestrian experience in central Oxford.

What has happened over the last few weeks is that we have experienced the largest influx of students taking language lessons in the city for at least 20 years.

The new timetables have seen a switch to larger buses so in fact there are more seats available overall than there were before.

It is very difficult to respond when as many as 250 turn up at one bus stop without warning and try to get on the next bus.

Hilary Grime raised a number of points which I am happy to deal with:

* The City5 is now a joint service with Stagecoach’s 1, providing a bus every eight minutes.

* The bus stops for the City5 and the 1 service moved to St Aldate’s two years ago, as part of the county council’s elimination of bus stops from Queen Street and the reduction of bus movements. It makes sense that these two co-ordinated services leave from the same place so that customers can get the benefit of the joint frequency.

* Day return tickets are included in the new scheme.

I realise that “teething” can be annoying, but I can assure Hilary Grime and all our passengers that as soon as an issue is identified we deal with it as swiftly as we can.

PHILIP KIRK Managing Director Oxford Bus Company