Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

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Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
AlexanderDennis Enviro400 MMC SN66 WHC Oxford HighSt.jpg
Parent Stagecoach Group
Founded 1997
Headquarters Cowley, Oxford
Service area Oxfordshire (plus a few routes into adjacent counties)
Service type Bus and coach services
Destinations Banbury, Bicester, Brackley, Carterton, Chipping Norton, London, Oxford, Wantage, Witney
Hubs Banbury
Oxford
Witney
Fleet 179 (August 2017)[1]
Website Stagecoach Bus

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire is the trading name of Thames Transit Ltd.[2] It is a bus operator serving the county of Oxfordshire, England. It is a subsidiary of Stagecoach Group.

History[edit]

In 1987 Harry Blundred, a former bus driver and controller from Devon, founded both Thames Transit and the Oxford Tube. In 1997 Stagecoach Group bought both operations from Blundred and merged them with Stagecoach Midland Red.[3]

Stagecoach South Midlands operated four 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 as "Stagecoach in Oxfordshire".[4] In March 2004 Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and Stagecoach in Warwickshire were split to into two divisions with those names.

Stagecoach buses in Oxford, and from Oxford to Abingdon and Kidlington, compete 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.[citation needed]

The Oxford Tube service competes with the Oxford Bus Company's X90 service between Oxford and London. This unusual level of both service and competition is linked with Oxford's status as a university city, shortage of car parking spaces in the city centre, and the consequent large numbers of young, affluent but car-less residents.[citation needed]

In 2010 it was announced that Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, in consultation with Oxfordshire County Council, had agreed a Bus Quality Partnership as enabled by the Local Transport Act 2008. The partnership would improved multi-operator ticketing across the City and co-ordinate bus timetables on the four busiest shared routes.[5]

An Alexander Dennis Enviro400H diesel-electric hybrid bus in September 2013 on Banbury Road, Cutteslowe, Oxford on route 2B, one of the routes with joint timetabling under the Oxford Bus Quality Partnership

On 15 July 2010 Stagecoach in Oxfordshire introduced a fleet of 26 Alexander Dennis Enviro400H diesel-electric hybrid buses on Oxford – Cowley – Blackbird Leys route 1 and Oxford – Kidlington routes 7A/7B (now 2/2A/2B/2C/2D). Double deckers were chosen over single deckers as a result of the co-ordinated timetables and reduced frequencies to be introduced under the quality partnership.[6] As newer buses joined the Oxfordshire fleet, the Enviro400H hybrids were transferred first to Oxford – Rose Hill route 3 and Oxford - Barton route 8 and now to Oxford – Cowley – Headington route 10.

In October 2016 Stagecoach announced the introduction of new electronic ticket machines to enable passengers to pay by contactless payment card or by smartphone using Apple Pay or Android Pay. Stagecoach in Oxfordshire was the first Stagecoach division to receive these new machines for both local services and the Oxford Tube, making Stagecoach in Oxfordshire the first major operator to accept contactless payments outside London.[7]

Oxford Tube[edit]

An Oxford Tube Van Hool Astromega coach outside The Queen's College in High Street, Oxford

The Oxford Tube currently operates a fleet of 26 Van Hool Astromega double decker coaches[8] on limited stops services between Oxford and London Victoria.

On 3 March 2014 Stagecoach Group announced its biggest vehicle order to date. Costing Stagecoach over £100 million in total, it included 26 new VanHool TX Astromega coaches to operate the Oxford Tube service.[9] The first of the new coaches entered service on 16 July 2014 with the entire fleet following shortly after.[10] The new coaches increased comfort and facilities for passengers including more leg room, 4G WiFi, power sockets and USB ports in selected seats and a brand new audio information 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.[11]

Stagecoach Gold[edit]

Stagecoach Gold branded Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC bus on route 31 in Abingdon-on-Thames in June 2017

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire operates several routes under the premium Stagecoach Gold brand. The Stagecoach Gold brand was introduced in Oxfordshire in 2009 with the creation of the first S-Series (Superior Series) routes. The Stagecoach Gold brand is currently used on several long-distance routes in the county. The Gold branded buses feature a special Gold and blue coloured livery along with high-back leather seats and free on-board Wi-Fi. The newer Gold vehicles used on routes 7, S4, S8, S9 and 34 also include USB charging ports.

In addition to the routes operated by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, Stagecoach West also operates route 66 which runs between Swindon and Oxford via Faringdon.

S1 and S2 – Carterton to Oxford[edit]

After the launch of the S-Series services in 2009, routes 100 and 200 were renumbered S1 and S2 respectively and equipped with new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double-decker buses to Stagecoach Gold specification.[12] In July 2014 route S7 was created, linking Carterton, Minster Lovell, Witney and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington. Route S7 has since been revised and the service now starts at Witney and no longer serves Carterton and Minster Lovell.[13]

S3 – Chipping Norton/Charlbury to Oxford[edit]

In 2008 route 20, operating between Chipping Norton and Oxford, and route 20A, between Charlbury and Oxford, were combined to create route S3 operating alternately Oxford – Woodstock – Charlbury and Oxford – Woodstock – Chipping Norton. The service also serves Blenheim Palace. Route S3 was upgraded to Stagecoach Gold status in September 2012 with the delivery of nine new Stagecoach Gold specification Enviro400s for the service.[14]

Stagecoach Gold branded Alexander Dennis Enviro300 bus on route S4 in Summertown, Oxford in April 2016

S4 – Banbury to Oxford[edit]

In September 2011 Banbury – Oxford routes 59/59A/59B were renumbered S4.[15] In September 2015 route S4 was upgraded with new Gold-specification Alexander Dennis Enviro300 single-decker buses.[16]

S5 – Bicester to Oxford[edit]

In 2009 routes 27/27A/27B between Bicester and Oxford were rebranded as route S5. The route was subsequently upgraded to Stagecoach Gold in January 2012 with a fleet of 11 new Gold branded Enviro400s.[17]

7 – Woodstock to Oxford[edit]

Route 7 was a new route created in January 2017 between Woodstock and Oxford via Kidlington and Oxford Parkway. It competes with Oxford Park and Ride route 500 that Oxford Bus Company extended to Kidlington and Woodstock some weeks earlier. Route 7 was given Stagecoach Gold status with brand new Enviro400 MMC vehicles that were delivered to Stagecoach in Oxfordshire in December 2016.[18] In April 2017 Oxford Bus Company announced that it would reduce the frequency of its service to Woodstock, as it was struggling to compete with routes 7 and S3.[19]

S8, S9 and 34 – Wantage to Oxford[edit]

Routes X30, 31 and 34 between Wantage and Oxford were upgraded to Stagecoach Gold status in January 2017. The services received new Stagecoach Gold specification Enviro400 MMC vehicles that were delivered to Stagecoach in December 2016.[20] Routes 31 and X30 were rebranded to S8 & S9 respectively on 22 October 2017.[21]

National Express[edit]

Stagecoach Oxfordshire operated route 737 from Oxford to Stansted Airport under contract to National Express from March 2007 until June 2013.[22][23]

Fleet[edit]

An Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMC bus on route B6 in Banbury
An Alexander Dennis Enviro200 bus on route 12 in Cowley Road, Oxford

As of December 2016, Stagecoach Oxfordshire operates and maintains a fleet of 176 buses. The fleet consists of:[24]

  • 26 Oxford Tube branded Van Hool TX Astromega coaches
  • 33 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 400MMC buses
  • 10 Stagecoach Gold branded ADL Enviro 400MMC buses
  • 5 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 400 buses
  • 42 Stagecoach Gold branded Scania N230UD / ADL Enviro 400 buses
  • 15 Stagecoach Electric Hybrid branded ADL Enviro 400H buses
  • 5 Stagecoach Gold branded Scania K230UB / ADL Enviro 300 buses
  • 5 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 200MMC buses
  • 27 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 200 buses
  • 8 Stagecoach branded Optare Solo buses

Stagecoach Oxfordshire has a young fleet, with most vehicles less than five years old. This is partly due to Oxford's Low Emission Zone, which allows only buses with exhaust systems of at least Euro V standard or better to serve the city centre.[25] Stagecoach Oxfordshire has replaced most of its fleet to meet this requirement.

Depots[edit]

An Optare Solo SR bus on route 19 in Carterton

Oxford depot also has three out-stations at Bicester, Chipping Norton and Harwell. Chipping Norton out-station is also used by Witney depot. Harwell out-station houses the Wantage fleet. It also used to house the Didcot fleet, but Stagecoach no longer operates in Didcot.

Incidents[edit]

  • 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. No-one was seriously injured, but the vehicle ended up on its side and sustained significant damage. The vehicle was eventually repaired and returned to service.[26]
  • On 14 December 2010 a double deck bus on 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 was freed with hydraulic cutting equipment and she was then taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital with suspected facial and leg injuries. Three passengers from the bus were taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution.[27]
  • On 14 May 2012 the engine of bus 22766 caught fire in Cumnor while on route X30 from Wantage to Oxford. No passengers were injured in this incident and the bus was eventually repaired and returned to service.[28]
  • On 4 October 2014 bus 15609 was involved in a collision with a car which resulted in both vehicles ending up in an embankment at the side of the A40 between Witney and Eynsham. As a result the A40 was closed between Eynsham roundabout and Witney while emergency services dealt with the incident. No-one was seriously injured but a few people were taken to hospital as a precaution.[29] The bus involved has since been repaired and returned to service.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stagecoach UK Fleet List". UK-BUSES. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  2. ^ "Thames Transit Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "Midland Red (South) Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  4. ^ "Midland History:Timeline Menu". MidlandRed.net. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Little, Reg (14 January 2010). "Historic bus deal boosts city services". The Oxford Times. Newsquest Oxfordshire. p. 1. 
  6. ^ Little, Reg (15 July 2010). "Transport revolution". The Oxford Times. Oxford: Newsquest Oxfordshire. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Contactless payment launched on Stagecoach buses". Stagecoach. Stagecoach. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "Oxford Tube - New Coaches". Stagecoach. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Stagecoach boosts UK economy with record £100m orders for new buses and coaches". Stagecoach Group. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Press release". Stagecoach Bus. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "New Oxford Tube coaches take to the road". Stagecoach. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Rivett, Jenifer (10 March 2010). "New Stagecoach fleet sets gold standard for West Oxon". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "S7 Timetable" (PDF). Stagecoach Bus. Stagecoach. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  14. ^ Crowe, Malcolm. "Spottings & Jottings Issue nr 61 - September 3rd 2012". The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  15. ^ "Commuter bus route shifting up a gear". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Pritchard, Jason (17 September 2015). "Bus passengers can now enjoy a gold service in Banbury". Banbury Guardian. Johnston Press. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  17. ^ McGregor, Sam (13 January 2012). "Bicester to Oxford bus links are improved". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  18. ^ Crossley, William (30 December 2016). "New Stagecoach bus route to link Woodstock with Oxford". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  19. ^ Rust, Stuart (17 April 2017). "Competition forces Oxford Bus Company to cut back on services". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  20. ^ Crowe, Malcolm. "Bus users in Wantage and Grove asked to comment on proposed X30/31 route change". The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  21. ^ "Changes to Stagecoach services between Wantage, Grove and Oxford from 22 October 2017". Stagecoach Bus. Stagecoach in Oxfordshire. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  22. ^ "Stagecoach wins the contract to operate the National Express 737 service". The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page. Malcolm Crowe. 31 January 2007. 
  23. ^ "Spottings & Jottings nr. 69". The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page. Malcolm Crowe. 3 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Stagecoach UK Fleetlist". UK-BUSES. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  25. ^ "Oxford's Low Emission Zone (LEZ)". Oxford City Council. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Man bailed over coach crash on M40 in Buckinghamshire". BBC News. BBC. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "Taxi driver injured after collision with bus". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. 14 December 2010. 
  28. ^ "Bus is towed away after blaze". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  29. ^ Wilkinson, Ben. "A40 re-opens after bus crash". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  30. ^ "Stagecoach UK Fleetlist". UK-BUSES. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 

External links[edit]