New Bus Routes for Headington

We’ve known for a while that there were plans for new bus routes in Headington with an announcement expected at the begining of August. Although there’s still not been any official announcement, the eagle-eyed @HeadingtonNews spotted the new timetables on the @Stagecoach_Ox website.

Starting on 23 September the 700 service will be extended to Kidlington, serving Water Eaton P&R and the JR, Nuffield and Churchill Hospitals. New service 800 will run between Thornhill P&R and the JR Hospital every 20 minutes, and new service 900 will link Thornhill, the Nuffield and Churchill at the same frequency. Like the existing 700, both the 800 and 900 services will run Monday to Friday only. See the route maps and timetables here:

These files are all pdfs. You can get to these pages, and to interactive maps of the routes, by entering “Stagecoach Oxfordshire” in the ‘Operator’ box on this page.

These new buses will be welcome in many respects as they offer the possibility of fewer journeys by car to the hospitals. However, whether enough journeys will be avoided to compensate for six more buses an hour in each direction running along the London Road and through Headington shops is bound to be queried. Maybe we’ll learn more of the transport planners’ thinking when the official announcement is made.

The most controversial, indeed unwelcome aspect is that the 800 is routed down Osler Road. I find this astonishing, and it’s bound to provoke antagonism locally. The problems of congestion on Osler Road are well-known, and adding three more buses each way every hour is asking for trouble. Whether this is Stagecoach’s idea or the County transport planners I don’t know, but whoever pushed the idea is out of touch with local conditions and the community’s feelings.

None of these new developments has so far entered the discussions around @OxfordshireCC‘s Headington Transport Strategy about which I wrote last week.