Sir – In December the Office of Rail and Road published data showing total rail passenger trips to or from Hanborough station in 2014–15 exceeded 243,000.

They have doubled in just four years and trebled in seven: the quickest passenger increase on the ever-busier Cotswold Line. It suggests about 670 passengers a day now use Hanborough. It is effectively Witney’s railhead.

Cars overflow Hanborough station’s two car parks, totalling 241 spaces. Stagecoach bus 233 gives the station some connections with Woodstock, Witney and Burford. But the bus is only hourly and Great Western’s trains approximately hourly. A delay to either may cause missed connections, leaving passengers stranded for an hour.

The last bus to Witney leaves Hanborough at 18.49. To meet it, passengers from London must catch the 17.22 from Paddington. And the train must not be late.

Bus Users Oxford would like Stagecoach to double bus 233 to half-hourly, and extend it an hour later to meet the 18.22 from Paddington. But with the 233’s current number of passengers, this would be a commercial gamble.

Developers building houses at Faringdon and Yarnton paid Stagecoach to increase bus frequencies on routes 66 and S3. Commercial Estates Group, which wants to build 120 homes at Hanborough, should do the same for route 233.

Instead CEG wants to give the station another 400 car spaces, replace the 100-metre station approach with one twice as long, and build a footbridge to link its new homes with the station.

More homes increases demand to double the railway through Hanborough, which could enable doubling the trains to half-hourly. But CEG’s car park would choke the A4095 with another 400 cars in every peak. And not all new residents would leave by train or bus. Some would drive, adding even more cars.

This is not sustainable development.

Hugh Jaeger
Bus Users Oxford