Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

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Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bus at Carfax, Oxford, England 02.jpg
Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 400 bodied Scania N230UD in Oxford City Centre on route X30 to Wantage
Parent Stagecoach
Founded July 2002
Headquarters Oxford
Service area Oxfordshire
Service type Bus and coach services
Destinations Oxford, Witney, Banbury, Bicester, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Wantage & London
Fleet 170 (January 2017)
Website www.stagecoachbus.com/oxfordshire

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire[1] is a bus operator based in Oxford. It is a subsidiary of Stagecoach. As well as Oxford, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire provides services in Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Wantage and Witney as well as providing a regular express coach service between Oxford and London.[2]

History[edit]

In the 1990s Stagecoach South Midlands was formed from Midland Red (South)[3] and Thames Transit[1] were both purchased by Stagecoach.

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

In October 2016, Stagecoach announced that they would be doing a company wide rollout of new state of the art ticket machines that will allow passengers to pay for travel using their contactless payment card or on their 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]

Stagecoach Oxford 50270 on the Oxford Tube at Hillingdon Station

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

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.[9] The first of the new coaches entered service on 16 July 2014 with the entire fleet following shortly after.[10] 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.[11]

Stagecoach Gold[edit]

Stagecoach Oxfordshire Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 bodied Scania N230UD on route S2 in Oxford in September 2012

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 and Witney 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.[12] The Stagecoach Gold brand was also later applied to routes S3 and S5 in 2012.[13]

In September 2011 Stagecoach created route S4 which saw routes 59/59A/59B join the S-Series.[14] Stagecoach in Oxfordshire confirmed in May 2015 that route S4 will be receiving the Stagecoach Gold with the upgraded service launched in September 2015.[15]

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. The S7 service has since been revised and now starts in Witney and no longer serves Carterton or Minster Lovell.

In October 2014 Stagecoach launched route SW1 linking Carterton and Witney with London on weekends and certain bank holidays.[16] On 17 April 2015 Stagecoach Oxfordshire confirmed that they would be ending the SW1 service due to low passenger numbers.[17]

Ten brand new Stagecoach Gold ADL Enviro 400 MMCs were delivered to Oxford depot in December 2016. These new buses are currently in service on the new 7 service between Woodstock and Oxford, as well as routes X30 and 31 between Wantage and Oxford.

At present, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire is the largest Stagecoach Gold operator with a total of nine Stagecoach Gold routes and 57 Gold specification vehicles in the fleet.

National Express[edit]

Stagecoach Oxfordshire operated route 737 from Oxford to Stansted Airport under contract to National Express from March 2007 until June 2013.[18][19]

Fleet[edit]

As of December 2016, Stagecoach Oxfordshire operates and maintains a fleet of 176 buses. The fleet consists of:[20]

  • 26 Oxford Tube branded VanHool TX Astromega coaches
  • 33 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 400MMCs
  • 10 Stagecoach Gold branded ADL Enviro 400MMCs
  • 5 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 400s
  • 42 Stagecoach Gold branded Scania N230UD / ADL Enviro 400s
  • 15 Stagecoach Electric Hybrid branded ADL Enviro 400Hs
  • 5 Stagecoach Gold branded Scania K230UB / ADL Enviro 300s
  • 5 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 200MMCs
  • 27 Stagecoach branded ADL Enviro 200s
  • 8 Stagecoach branded Optare Solo

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.[21] As a result, Stagecoach Oxfordshire have replaced most of the fleet to meet these requirements.

Depots[edit]

Northern Counties Paladin bodied Volvo B10M in Oxford in August 2008
Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 hybrid in Oxford in August 2010

Oxford depot also has three out-stations which are located at Bicester, Chipping Norton and Harwell. Chipping Norton out-station is also used by Witney depot. Harwell out-station is currently used to house the Wantage fleet but previously it also used to house the Didcot fleet however this is no longer the case as Stagecoach no longer operate 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. 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.[22]
  • 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 nearby hospital as a precaution.[23]
  • 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.[24]
  • 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.[25] The bus involved has since been repaired and has returned to service.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 2272113 Thames Transit Limited
  2. ^ "About Stagecoach in Oxfordshire". Stagecoach. Stagecoach. Retrieved 19 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 1556310 Midland Red (South) Limited
  4. ^ Midland Red Depots MidlandRed.net
  5. ^ Little, Reg (2010-01-14). "Historic bus deal boosts city services". Oxford Times. p. 1. 
  6. ^ Little, Reg (15 July 2010). "Transport revolution". The Oxford Times. Oxford: Newsquest (Oxfordshire) Ltd. 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
  9. ^ "Stagecoach boosts UK economy with record £100M orders for new buses and coaches - Stagecoach Group". stagecoach.com. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Stagecoach Bus". stagecoachbus.com. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "New Oxford Tube coaches take to the road - Stagecoach Group". stagecoach.com. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "New Stagecoach fleet sets gold standard for West Oxon (From Oxford Mail)". oxfordmail.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "Bicester to Oxford bus links are improved (From Oxford Mail)". oxfordmail.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Commuter bus route shifting up a gear (From Oxford Mail)". oxfordmail.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  15. ^ Pritchard, Jason (17 September 2015). "Bus passengers can now enjoy a gold service in Banbury". Banbury Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  16. ^ "Stagecoach Bus". stagecoachbus.com. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  17. ^ "Stagecoach Bus". stagecoachbus.com. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  18. ^ National Express The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page 31 January 2007
  19. ^ National Express The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page 3 July 2013
  20. ^ "Stagecoach UK Fleetlist". UK-BUSES. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "Oxford's Low Emission Zone (LEZ)". Oxford City Council. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  22. ^ "Man bailed over coach crash on M40 in Buckinghamshire - BBC News". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  23. ^ http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/archive/2010/12/14/8735469.Taxi_driver_injured_after_collision_with_bus/
  24. ^ "Bus is towed away after blaze (From Oxford Mail)". oxfordmail.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  25. ^ "A40 re-opens after bus crash (From Oxford Mail)". oxfordmail.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  26. ^ "Stagecoach UK Fleetlist | UK-BUSES". uk-buses.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 

External links[edit]