Thursday, 19 April 2018
ALMOST 350 people have signed two petitions objecting to cuts to a bus service in Watlington.
Thames Travel’s T1 service, which connects the town with Oxford, Cowley, Garsington and Chinnor, has had less than half as many buses since July 23.
It no longer runs to Chinnor but goes into the centre of Oxford instead of only going as far as Templar Square.
The peak time service is similar but there is only one off-peak service in each direction, leaving Watlington library at 9.20am and returning from St Aldates at 12.35pm.
Between 9.20am and 4.25pm on weekdays there are no buses from Watlington to Oxford, while the Saturday service has been reduced from an hourly to a two-hourly service.
More than 180 people have signed a paper petition and about 170 an online version, which was started by Watlington parish councillor Terry Jackson.
She said: “We understand that Thames Travel is not getting a lot of people on the buses but the people who do use them are reliant on them. Their jobs are dependent on them.”
Phil Southall, managing director of Thames Travel, said: “Thames Travel has served the communities of South Oxfordshire for almost 20 years.
“For the most part, this has been through strong partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and its provision of subsidies to routes which otherwise would not be commercially viable.
“After the withdrawal of these subsidies in July 2016 we took a considerable risk with many services, amending them to improve efficiency in the hope of maintaining them.
“Unfortunately, after nearly a year, some of these services are still operating at a substantial loss which we regrettably cannot continue to absorb.”
To sign the online petition, visit www.change.org/p/
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