Oxford Bus discontinues 4C route

Oxford Bus Company has decided to discontinue the 4C service that runs between Dean Court and Wood Farm, from 26 Jan 14.

From what Mr Southall, Operations Director for Oxford Bus Company, says here, I expect radical improvement in reliability of the 4, 4A and 4B buses. I also fear we dare not complain about their services, or they will cancel the other routes.

The North Hinksey Parish Clerk, Alan Stone, provided this letter he got from them.

Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2014 16:04:39 +0000
Subject: Re: 4C Bus Service
From: phil.southall@oxfordbus.co.uk
To: nhpcclerk@msn.com
Dear Mr Stone

There are no changes happening to service 4 until 26 January 2014. 
At the moment I have notified the local Councillor for the area so 
that she is aware of our plans in advance of wider publicity. A 
press release has now also gone out in the Oxford Mail and The 
County Council is also aware of our plans. We have put notices on 
the buses and at bus stops to inform people in more detail about 
the changes. Timetables will also be available from tomorrow.

Coming to the reasons for the change, I have received a lot of 
complaints about the reliability of service 4 over the last twelve 
months so my team has reviewed where the problems are happening, 
at what times and what can be done to try and resolve them. 
Whatever we do with the service the increasing congestion on the 
Botley Road and getting through the City Centre are always going 
to be key challenges on the route. All we can do for these elements 
is to review what the average running time is an adjust the time-
tables accordingly and we have done this for the new timetable at 
certain times of the day.

However, in addition to the above the two other main problems 
identified have been:
1) Buses getting stuck at Wood Farm due to inconsiderate parking.
2) Buses on the Botley side of the city having a different experience
on each trip as one bus an hour goes to Dean Court, two buses an hour
go to Cumnor on an uneven frequency - one of which extends to Abingdon
and three buses per hour terminate at Elm's Rise. This means that 
buses run together more often than we would like when delays occur.

To resolve point 1) we will be changing the route in Wood Farm.

To resolve point 2) I plan to revise service 4 to serve Elm's Rise 
every 20 minutes and Cumnor every 20 minutes (with one an hour extending
through to Abingdon) giving the co-ordinated service every ten minutes 
from where service 4A joins Cumnor Hill at Arnold's Way. Unfortunately 
this means that Oxford Bus Company will no longer be serving Dean Court 
and the service 4C service variant is being withdrawn. The patronage 
on this section of route is much lower than on the other sections.

What this means for Dean Court residents is that those living closer 
to the north of the area can walk through to Cumnor Hill and receive 
a bus every 10-minutes into Oxford on services 4/4A. Those living towards 
the south of the area will have to use the frequency Stagecoach services 
that stop on Eynsham Road. All stops are within 400m, the 'acceptable' 
walking distance that planners use when looking at services and as is 
laid down by Central Government. It is not true to say that all the 
issues are at the other end of the route.

I can assure you that these changes have been made to try and improve 
the reliability of service 4 overall. I do appreciate that residents 
of Dean Court may not be happy with the changes but when planning 
services we have to cater for lots of conflicting demands whilst 
trying to keep services a simple proposition for our customers.

I should also point out that when an operator makes a commercial decision 
that they cannot provide a service in any given area, there is a statutory 
obligation on Oxfordshire County Council to assess if there is a 
'social need' for a replacement service and I would encourage you to 
contact them to see what the outcome of this decision is.

I'm afraid that this decision cannot be reversed as we have given the 
statutory 56 days notice to the Traffic Commissioner to change the service.

Yours sincerely
Phil Southall
Operations Director

One thought on “Oxford Bus discontinues 4C route

  1. […] We talked about their decision to discontinue the 4C service (more info here). […]

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