Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
|Service type||Bus and coach services|
|Destinations||Oxford, Witney, Banbury, Bicester, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Wantage & London|
|Fleet||190 (September 2014)|
Stagecoach South Midlands operated under four different brands:
- Oxford Tube for express buses between Oxford and London Victoria
- Stagecoach in Banbury for local buses in and around Banbury
- Stagecoach in Oxford for local buses in and around Oxford
- Stagecoach in Warwickshire for local buses in Warwickshire
In July 2002, the Banbury and Oxford brands were merged under the Stagecoach in Oxfordshire brand. In March 2004 Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and Stagecoach in Warwickshire were split to into two separate divisions with those names.
Buses in Oxford operate in competition with local buses operated by the Oxford Bus Company. Oxford is one of the few UK cities where such free and unsubsidised competition, as envisaged by the architects of bus deregulation in the 1980s, still exists.
Similarly the Oxford Tube services competes with the Oxford Bus Company's X90 Oxford-London service. This unusual level of both service and competition is facilitated by Oxford's status as a university city, lack of car parking spaces in the city centre, and the consequent large numbers of young, affluent but car-less residents.
In 2010 it was announced that a quality partnership had been agreed between the two principal bus operators and Oxfordshire County Council leading to coordinated timetabling on four key corridors and improved multi-operator ticketing across the City. On 15 July 2010, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire introduced a fleet of twenty-six hybrid buses on Routes 1 (Blackbird Leys) and 7A/7B (Kidlington). Double deckers were selected over single deckers as a result of the co-ordinated timetables and reduced frequencies to be introduced under the quality partnership. 
On 3 March 2014 Stagecoach Group announced that they had just made their biggest vehicle order to date. Costing Stagecoach over £100 million in total, the order included 26 brand new VanHool TX Astromega coaches to operate the Oxford Tube service. The first of the new coaches entered service on 16 July 2014 with the entire fleet due to be rolled out within a few months. The new coaches add extra comfort and facilities for the passengers including more leg room, high speed 4G WiFi, power sockets and USB ports in selected seats as well as a brand new audio system providing passengers with departure and arrival information and the top deck also features a panoramic glass sun roof allowing more natural light into the coach.
In 2009 Stagecoach in Oxfordshire launched the S-Series which was intended to be a more superior service. Several routes connecting towns/villages with Oxford joined this series which saw free WiFi being added to the vehicles as well as some routes receiving brand new vehicles. The first routes to join the S-Series were routes 100 and 200 from Carterton to Oxford, these routes were then renumbered as S1 and S2. Routes connecting Oxford with Chipping Norton/Charlbury (S3) and Oxford with Bicester (S5) also joined the series.
In 2010 Stagecoach upgraded routes S1 and S2 to Stagecoach Gold routes which saw brand new luxury buses with free WiFi and hand stitched Italian leather seats introduced on the services. The Stagecoach Gold brand was also later applied to routes S3 and S5 in 2012.
In September 2011 Stagecoach created route S4 which saw routes 59/59A/59B join the S-Series. At present the S4 doesn't offer passengers free WiFi and it also hasn't received Stagecoach Gold branding like its sister routes. This is possibly due to the frequency and popularity of the service.
In July 2014 Stagecoach launched route S7 between Carterton and Headington which was intended to connect West Oxfordshire with the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington however the service has received a lot of criticism from passengers as the nearest stop to the hospital is over 1/2 a mile away. Similar to the S1 and S2, the S7 is also operated by Stagecoach Gold vehicles.
At present, route S6 does not exist however there is a possibility of its creation in the future. Currently Wantage is the most likely contender for it as Wantage is the only town outside of Oxford that is linked by a Stagecoach service to not have an S-Series service making routes X30 or 31 between Wantage and Oxford a possible contender for the S6 route.
As of September 2014, Stagecoach Oxfordshire operates and maintains a fleet of 190 buses. The fleet includes 26 VanHool TX Astromega coaches that operate the Oxford Tube, 42 Stagecoach Gold branded Scania N230UD / ADL Enviro 400's, 26 Electric Hybrid branded Alexander Dennis Enviro 400H's, 9 Stagecoach branded Scania N230UD / ADL Enviro 400's, 11 MAN A69 / Alexander Dennis Enviro 300's, 32 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200's and several more.
Stagecoach Oxfordshire has a fairly new fleet with most vehicles being under 5 years old, this is partly due to a Low Emission Zone in Oxford which only allows buses with Euro V engines or higher to operate within the city (this is due to be fully enforced from January 2016). As a result Stagecoach Oxfordshire have replaced most of the fleet to meet these requirements.
- In the early hours of the morning on 31 August 2010 Oxford Tube coach 50226 was involved in a serious accident on the M40 after a passenger on board attempted to grab the steering wheel. Nobody was seriously injured in the incident however the vehicle ended up on its side and sustained quite significant damage. The vehicle was eventually repaired and put back into service.
- On 14 December 2010 a double deck vehicle operating Route S1 from Oxford to Witney was involved in a collision with a taxi on Oxford Hill junction with Cogges Hill Road in Witney. The elderly female taxi driver had to be freed using hydraulic cutting equipment and she was then taken to the JR Hospital with suspected facial and leg injuries. A further three passengers from the bus were taken to a near by hospital as a precaution.
- On 14 May 2012 the engine of bus 22766 caught fire in Cumnor whilst operating route X30 from Wantage to Oxford. No passengers were injured in this incident and the bus was eventually repaired and put back into service.
- On 4 October 2014 bus 15609 was involved in a collision with a car which saw both vehicles end up in an embankment at the side of the A40 between Witney and Eynsham. As a result, the A40 was closed between the Eynsham roundabout and Witney whilst emergency services dealt with the scene. No one was seriously injured however a few people were taken to hospital as a precaution.
- Companies House extract company no 2272113 Thames Transit Limited
- Companies House extract company no 1556310 Midland Red (South) Limited
- Midland Red Depots MidlandRed.net
- Little, Reg (2010-01-14). "Historic bus deal boosts city services". Oxford Times. p. 1.
- Little, Reg (15 July 2010). "Transport revolution". The Oxford Times (Oxford: Newsquest (Oxfordshire) Ltd). pp. 1–2. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- Oxford Tube - New Coaches
- National Express The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page 31 January 2007
- National Express The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page 3 July 2013
- Stagecoach in Oxfordshire website
- Oxford Tube website
- Weekly news page for buses in Oxford and the Chilterns
- Bus Zone - enthusiast website
- Showbus gallery