WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 1st March 2023

Is 20 plenty? Bus companies don't think so

Let’s start with some good news – as reported in the Herald last week, the £2 cap on single bus fares will be extended to the end of June.

A survey by the passenger watchdog Transport Focus reports 7% of people saying they are using the bus more.

This is costing up to £80 million on top of the £60 million invested in the current scheme which runs to the end of March.

This is in addition to government investment of £3 billion in bus services by 2025, including over £1 billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure.

Bus companies do seem to be in the local news as well at the moment.

Abingdon has been consulting on reducing the speed limits on many roads in the town to 20 miles per hour and the results of the consultation were reviewed at a County Council meeting last week.

The Oxford Bus Company objected to the proposal suggesting that there would be a deleterious impact on bus journey times.

They went on to say that

“Buses need to make progress where they can, in order to be a viable and attractive alternative to private cars and to attract patronage in order to help to achieve the council's stated objectives to remove 1 in 4 car journeys.

“Following this policy on speed limits will not achieve this and will be highly likely to lead to a material reduction in bus services in Abingdon which will have long term negative impacts on a large number of the residents of the town.”

Stagecoach Bus Company (who no longer operate buses in Abingdon) stated that if they were still an operator in the area, they would be making strong representations and consider the manner in which the 20mph policy is applied in and around larger settlements is especially crucial for the ongoing sustainability of bus services in and through these localities.

At the meeting, the Cabinet Member for Highway Management agreed to defer the decision to enable further consultation to take place.

Thames Valley Police also said that they have no policy to enforce based on arbitrary speed limits alone but will enforce based on threat of harm, risk and resourcing so 20 mile an hour will only be enforced where appropriate.

So given the Police and the Bus Companies operate all over Oxfordshire – what does this mean for the County Policy of “20 is plenty” in all of our towns?

Copyright © 2013-2024 Wantage and Grove Campaign Group