During August and early September, LCON undertook a survey of local residents to assess the adequacy of local bus services in our area. The aim was to provide information that we could share with Oxfordshire County Council, who are making an application (a Bus Service Improvement Plan) at the end of October for government funding for additional bus services. We also wanted to find out more generally whether or not current bus services are meeting the needs of residents, and how they affect the use of cars.
With the help of several LCON members, we delivered 3000 leaflets promoting the survey to people living in Cutteslowe, Wolvercote, Jericho, (parts of) Walton Manor, and the Aristotle Lane, Waterside and Waterways estates. We asked people about how often they go to Summertown and to the City centre and about the way they travel at the moment. We also asked how they would respond to a hypothetical new bus route from where they live to either Summertown, or to the City centre, via Summertown.
Nearly 300 people responded. A large number of our respondents consider themselves to be active travellers – cycling and walking when possible. We found areas of social isolation, especially in Cutteslowe, with elderly or immobile residents unable to walk to a Banbury Road bus stop, and therefore unable to get to Summertown or the city centre. We also found evidence that more frequent, and more accessible, bus routes would motivate people to use the bus rather than their cars to go to Summertown.
We therefore made recommendations to the Council that they should invest in
- increasing the frequency and extending the existing route of the No35 bus in Wolvercote;
- the reinstatement of bus routes through both North and South Cutteslowe (probably extending an existing service that goes up Banbury Road);
- the introduction of a completely new bus route that links Jericho, Walton Manor, Waterside and Aristotle Lane Estate to Summertown. This could start at Oxford Station and end at the hospitals.
Transforming public transport for all
We want all bus services to be attractive to all groups in society. This means buses need to be frequent and modern, and the bus stops comfortable, sheltered and well-lit. Attractive bus services are part of the transformation of public transport, in preparation for measures to reduce traffic in the centre of Oxford: helping those that are disadvantaged at present, incentivising people to reduce their car usage, and so helping the environment. You can download the full report of our survey here.