Changes to Thames Travel services from 23 July 2017
In July 2016, Oxfordshire County Council withdrew all funding for bus services that it subsidised other than those linked to funding from new housing developments. In the wake of this, Thames Travel continued to operate some of these services without subsidy to try and continue to serve communities that otherwise would be left without a service. Almost one year on, some of these services continue to operate at a substantial loss as the subsidy previously provided by Oxfordshire County Council has not been replaced by additional income from passengers using the services. This means that some changes and withdrawals need to be made from 23 July 2017. These are detailed below.
Phil Southall, Managing Director of Thames Travel said:
“Thames Travel has served the communities of South Oxfordshire for almost 20 years. For the most part, this has been through strong partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and its provision of subsidies to routes which otherwise would not be commercially viable. After the withdrawal of these subsidies in July 2016 we took a considerable risk with many services, amending them to improve efficiency in the hope of maintaining them. Unfortunately after nearly a year, some of these services are still operating at a substantial loss which we regrettably cannot continue to absorb.”
The 17 service, which operates from Oxford Rail Station to Jericho and Summertown, will be withdrawn. Thames Travel has continued to operate this service following its subsidy withdrawal in July 2016 and unfortunately despite our best efforts, the service has not had sufficient patronage to remain sustainable.
The 114 service linking Wallingford to Berinsfield, Culham and Abingdon and the 41 Abingdon Town Service will also be withdrawn from the same date. Again, following the withdrawal of subsidy in July 2016 the services have run at a considerable loss that cannot be sustained any longer.
The 98 service (which links Great Western Park to Didcot Parkway and Orchard Centre) will be extended on Monday to Friday during the day to serve Harwell Campus and Chilton. This will replace some X32 journeys that currently operate along a similar route. The combined X32/32A and 98 timetables will still provide a bus approximately every fifteen minutes between Didcot Parkway and Harwell Campus. Some minor changes will be made to the Saturday timetable.
Finally, the formerly subsidised T1 service will be revised to focus on the sections of the route that are most heavily used. This will mean that the experimental extension from Watlington to Chinnor (introduced last year) will be removed, as will most off-peak journeys from Chalgrove to Watlington. Peak journeys will continue in order to serve commuters between Watlington and Oxford. More journeys will now operate to Oxford city centre providing improved links for Garsington and Chalgrove.
Please see the timetables below for details.