Inaugural Oxfordshire Bus Summit sets out opportunities to improve transport connectivity

1 year ago Fri 24th Jun 2022

Oxfordshire Bus Summit

The opportunity for Oxfordshire to achieve a net-zero transportation system will be explored in the county’s inaugural Bus Summit on Friday. 

Key figures from business, politics and the bus industry will give speeches on the county’s ambitious plans for transport connectivity and how Oxfordshire can move to a net zero transport system at the summit at the Said Business School.

Speakers will include Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, MPs Anneliese Dodds and Layla Moran, Luke Marion Interim Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel and Rachel Geliamassi Managing Director of Stagecoach West of England and Oxfordshire. Plus, speakers from Milton Park, Oxford Brookes University and Mobility Ways. A WrightBus StreetDeck Electroliner vehicle will be on demonstration at the summit.

The Summit will explore issues including how to improve bus patronage, how to introduce bus priority improvements and reduce bus journey times. It follows confirmation that Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet approved its draft enhanced partnership (EP) document for submission to the government. The EP sets out plans by the county council, bus operators and its partners, to help bring passenger levels back to pre-pandemic levels.

Earlier this year, the county council and bus companies Go-Ahead and Stagecoach were successful in their bid to bring 159 electric buses to Oxford and its surrounding areas. The bid received £32.8 million from the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas Scheme meaning that, along with £6m from the council and £43.7m from bus companies, the package for buses and the infrastructure to charge them is worth £82.5m. Delivery is dependent on improving bus journey times by 10%.

Luke Marion, Interim Interim Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel, said: “This first-of-its-kind Bus Summit in Oxfordshire is an important opportunity to educate key stakeholders on what the big opportunities are to improve connectivity and introduce net-zero technology and what we need to bring our vision to reality.”

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “Effective public transport is key to many of our priorities as a council. We want to invest in an inclusive, integrated and sustainable countywide transport network, fit for the 21st century, and significantly reduce reliance on car journeys. Buses are also central to helping address the climate emergency and tackling inequalities in the county.

“The bus companies have been hit hard by the pandemic, shortages of drivers and uncertainty over financial support from the government. Through our ambitious plans we aim to tackle these problems and look forward to working with the bus companies on improving the situation for the county’s existing and future passengers.”