Bus operators ready to welcome more passengers back on-board

May 17 2021

 Leading Oxfordshire bus operators today announced a range of further measures to welcome passengers back on-board.

Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and City Sightseeing Oxford have launched a ‘Back to Bus’ video to help welcome people back on-board and re-build confidence. It coincides with the UK’s further lifting of COVID-19 restrictions today (Monday May 17). 

In line with revised government guidance regarding social distancing on buses, capacities on all vehicles has been increased. All forward facing seating will now be available for passengers, meaning as demand for travel increases buses will be able to transport more people. In anticipation of an increase in people using public transport the bus operators have worked tirelessly to ensure customers can travel safely and benefit from increased service frequencies and flexible ticket options.

Later this month a new and improved travel app will be launched and new flexible ticketing bundles for people planning a hybrid working week will be available. The new travel app will enable passengers to receive real-time travel updates and plan journeys. 

Rigorous daily high-grade cleaning regimes will continue across the operators’ fleet of vehicles. It includes additional cleaning of touch points during the day with anti-viral cleaning products and anti-viral fogging overnight.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and City Sightseeing Oxford Managing Director, said: “We are pleased to be able to welcome more of our customers back on board with the further easing of restrictions.

“We have been busy during the pandemic working on multiple improvements to our services. These include adding ten new vehicles to our fleet, launching new formal partnerships with Milton Park and Bicester Village and improving timetables. We are also looking forward to launching improved technology to help passengers plan their journeys and modern ticketing deals. Our vehicles are safe to travel on and we are looking forward to welcoming more people back.”

Andy Morison, Head of Customer Experience added: “At the beginning of the pandemic we enhanced our on-board safety and cleaning measures for our customers and colleagues.

“Technology has been a big part of our improvements; it has helped us manage capacity and people plan routes. This will be expanded to show live updates and improved ticketing via a new app later this month. We understand people’s travel patterns will change so we are also due to introduce flexible worker bundles which will represent better value.”

The ‘Back to Bus’ video hosted on YouTube details all the key information and improvements for customers. Improvements to services include greater connectivity between Milton Park, Didcot and Oxford.

The Thames Travel X32 service now provides a half-hourly service between John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford, Milton Park, Didcot, Harwell and Wantage. In a further boost to services to the hospital the Oxford Bus Company cityX3 provides services between Abingdon, Barton, Oxford and the JR every 20 minutes between Monday and Saturday.

Further improvements have been made to Abingdon with the Thames Travel X2 service providing buses every 20 minutes between the town and Didcot as well as a direct service to Oxford Rail Station. Plus, the X2 and X3 services combined mean services between Oxford and Abingdon provide a frequency of every 10 minutes.

Whilst the new Thames Travel X36 service provides links between Didcot and new housing developments in Wantage and Grove. Improved services providing connectivity to Milton Park and Culham Science centre have also been launched. A permanent bus service between Horspath and Wheatley has also been introduced. While cross city links in Oxford have been introduced to improve services for residents in areas including Abingdon, Kennington and Wolvercote.