AT FIRST sight, the new bus S7 service being launched by Stagecoach is an answer to calls for a link between West Oxfordshire and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

But the service will stop outside the hospital in Headley Way, Headington.

People are right to question what use that will actually be for people with walking difficulties.

There have long been questions asked about why Carterton and Witney did not have a direct bus link to the hospital, like those running from Abingdon and Bicester.

Councillors, including Andrew Coles and Laura Price, should be praised for their role in pressing Stagecoach to deliver this new service, but why does it feel as though the company has not quite finished the job?

If it is going to the trouble of reshuffling its operations, including the S1, S2 and S3 routes, then why doesn’t it just go the extra half-mile, quite literally.

The company says it has experienced reliability problems with other services that enter the hospital site as they can get stuck in traffic queues.

While no one likes waiting for late buses, this seems like a face-saving exercise, rather than providing the service people really need.

Many elderly and disabled passengers will simply not be able to walk between Headley Way and the hospital.

So we ask Stagecoach to look at this again and see what it can do to help West Oxfordshire residents to get to important appointments without needing a car.