In July 2016 all bus subsidies provided by Oxfordshire County Council were withdrawn and this meant that any bus services through the outer areas of Wantage (Charlton Heights, Lark Hill, Stockham and Ham Field) stopped.
The 38 Town Circular Service now covers parts of Grove but only covers Grove Road, Mill Street, Denchworth Road and Mably Way in Wantage.
Many of the elderly or infirm residents of Lark Hill and Charlton who don’t drive have to rely on friends, taxis or the Wantage Independent Advice Centre (WIAC) Transport Service to get them into town or to the Health Centre.
Our Town Mayor (who has probably had his ear bent on this topic) has come up with the idea of the Wantage Transport Service.
The Town Council is working with the Oxfordshire Comet Bus Service using County Council vehicles that normally take children to school and adults to day care centres.
They have a 16 seater bus (which can take wheelchairs) which is providing a limited Wantage Town Service on Wednesdays. There are currently three routes that run twice during the day.
The Orange service starts at 9.45 from Fitzwaryn School and goes via Stockham Park, Winchester Way, Framlands,
Hamfield, Ham Road and Pegasus Court to Newbury Street. It leaves Newbury Street at 12.00 for the return journey.
The Green service starts at 10.00 in Newbury Street and goes via Ormond Road, Charlton Road, Charlton Village Road, Harcourt Green, Grove Road, Wantage Health Centre, Denchworth Road and Pegasus Court back to Newbury Street. The same route is repeated at 12.30.
The Red service starts at 10.35 in Newbury Street and stops in Winchester Way, Stockham Park, Denchworth Road, Whittington Crescent, Wantage Health Centre, Grove Road, Harcourt Road, Maude House, Charlton Village Road, Larkhill/ Larkdown, Springfield Road, Ormond Road and Newbury Street. It repeats the route at 1.10.
To use the bus, you have to register with the WIAC (who are managing the scheme on behalf of the Town Council), purchase a block of tickets - £15 for 12 or £5 for 4 and then book a seat on the service. This is to ensure that no-one is left at the bus stop because there are no seats left.
It is only a pilot scheme and at the moment there are only 17 registered users – so if this would be useful to you, please contact the WIAC (01235 765348) and find out more details.
It really is a case of use it or lose it.