Councillors and residents have expressed frustration at some of the cuts to bus services in and around Witney which will come into effect from Sunday August 28.

Hanborough and Minster Lovell county councillor Liam Walker, who is shadow cabinet member for highways, said while some areas may benefit it has left many frustrated with the lack of consultation and the disruption to travel plans.

READ ALSO: Stagecoach to cut Witney and Banbury bus routes

Paul Hughes, who lives on Shilton Park in Carterton and works in Oxford, uses the S2 service which will no longer serve Carterton.

Mr Hughes said: "As someone who used the S2 service every day to get to work the changes that Stagecoach describe as a 'tweak' are going to have a massive impact on my life.

"I regularly catch the 6:02am S2 to Oxford which currently gets me in to George Street at 6:35am ready to start work at 6:45am.

"With the changes I will have to catch an S1 at 4:49am to get me into Oxford at 6:02am. As you can see this is a very significant change."

Local councillors also criticise what they see as a lack of consultation from Stagecoach and Oxfordshire County Council.

District councillor Ben Woodruff, who represents Curbridge, said: "I have received emails from residents who have moved to Curbridge due to its good public transport connections and who are now faced with significant transport changes with no prior warning.

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"Stagecoach should have been working with the county council, who are responsible for transport in Oxfordshire, to better understand the impact that service changes would have on residents. This lack of consultation is just not good enough at all."

Most bus routes in Oxfordshire are operated on a commercial basis with the cost primarily met from fares, without any involvement from the county council.  

But bus companies are required to consult with the county council when making any changes to bus routes or times. 

Stagecoach said it had in fact been working closely with Oxfordshire County Council since the start of the pandemic to deal with a drop in demand and ensure routes are sustainable.

Rachel Geliamassi, managing director, Stagecoach West, said: "These service changes were submitted to Oxfordshire County Council with 10 weeks’ notice, as required. 

"Oxfordshire County Council has been working hard supporting services across the region, preventing larger scale reductions through a series of tenders. The delays in this process have meant that we were not able to communicate these updates until now."

OCC said most places would continue to receive a comparable level of service to today, although changes to routes through some villages would mean lower frequency services and a need to change buses to reach some destinations.

"The county council recognises that any bus service reductions can have a substantial impact on those affected, particularly in places that have traditionally had very good levels of service," it said.

But it added that its options for intervention are very limited. 

"As a result of declining revenue support from the Government, Oxfordshire County Council made the decision in 2016 to cease providing subsidies for bus services as this is not a statutory function and it was necessary for the council to focus on the services we are legally required to deliver."



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