Oxford plans to cut city centre buses

NEW buses – but fewer of them – are planned for Oxford city centre as part of proposed improvements being promoted by Oxfordshire county council. Work starts next summer with some city centre bus stops being relocated, and will be followed by the creation of additional pedestrianised areas, the rerouting of some bus services, and the introduction of new ticketing systems to speed boarding and cut the amount of time buses spend at stops.

Free park-and-ride services are also proposed, along with what the council describes as “state of the art” buses.
Keith Mitchell, the leader of Oxfordshire county council, says:  “The city’s heritage is both its strength and weakness.
“Moving large numbers of people on a medieval road network is a challenge that will take bold vision agreed by all organisations on the basis of mature negotiation and compromise.”

Philip Kirk, managing director at the Oxford Bus Company, comments: “We’ve had initial discussions with the county council and, overall, we are enthusiastic about helping to bring improvements to the central area.

“We now need to conduct some very detailed negotiations to get the balance of measures right, to ensure the continued economic wellbeing of the city, as well as preserving its historic core.”

The first stage of the plan is to be completed by 2010; the second, which involves extensive pedestrianisation, by 2013.