Two new state-of-the-art buses have been launched in Witney thanks to Lottery funding.

West Oxfordshire Community Transport (WOCT), which operates seven timetabled bus services in West Oxfordshire, has been successful in its application to the National Lottery Community Fund for funds for two state-of -the art new buses costing more than £120,000.

WOCT is a community-owned co-operative formed in 2017, running seven bus routes across the district and providing vital transport links for the local community.

The 15 seater buses are low floor, which means no steps for the elderly and infirm and each can accommodate wheelchairs - a first for bus services in Oxfordshire.

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These will be used on all WOCT routes serving residents in many parts of Witney and Carterton and the rural villages of the Wychwoods, Leafield and Crawley.

A ribbon was cut by the mayor of Witney Owen Collins in Witney's Market Square to signal their arrival.

WOCT chair Mike Parker said at the unveiling: "We provide vital links for people living in many of the estates  of Witney and Carterton and some local villages who otherwise have no other means of accessing the main shopping centres, their doctor, their college or place of work or even meeting friends over coffee.

“We thank the Lottery for making it easier for residents particularly those on low incomes, pensioners who can`t drive and students to get where they want – and need - to go.”

Service user Annette Ireland, from Witney, said: “My local bus the 215 is a lifeline for me. If it didn`t exist frankly I would be unable to get into Witney.”

Pensioner Pam Hall, from South Lane, added: “These new buses make it so much easier for someone my age to get on and off."

“I couldn`t fault it. All the drivers have become my friends!” said Fred Barrett, from Park Road, Witney.

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WOCT runs the 210 service which links the Wychwood villages, Leafield and Crawley with Witney.  This service is supported by Oxfordshire County Council.

The Witney Town Services 213, 214 and 215 link the outlying areas of the town with the centre. These services are supported by Witney Town Council.

The Carterton Connector 345/355 services link the northern and southern outskirts of Carterton with the town centre.

These services are supported by Carterton Town Council.

And the 216 Shopper Service runs from Riverside Gardens to Sainsburys and Lidl, Via the Market Square, every Monday and Friday.

It comes after Oxfordshire County Council allocated £1.2m for new bus services in November 2023 for communities which have been without regular public transport since 2016.