Better bus services coming to Oxford in 2024

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A green electric bus on Magdalen Bridge in Oxford

Oxford’s decades-old traffic problems will be tackled by new Traffic Filters, planned since 2015, and due to be trialled from late 2024. These should reduce congestion to the free-flowing traffic we see in school holidays.

The Traffic Filters provide three main benefits:

  • Priority users, such as buses, lorries, vans, taxis, health workers and disabled people will receive priority on less crowded roads.
  • Regular drivers will be able to move again, after decades of congestion, using routes not affected by traffic filters or their free passes.
  • With less traffic, walking and cycling – and life in general – will be more pleasant, with quieter and cleaner streets.

New and improved bus services

In addition to better speed and reliability on all services, the Traffic Filters, in combination with the wider Bus Service Improvement Plan enable major improvements to bus services in and around Oxford. The services will operate from the first day of the Traffic Filters and include:

  • New Orbital service 600: Redbridge P&R – Oxford Science Park – Cowley – Headington – JR Hospital – Thornhill P&R. This will complete a set of ‘Eastern Arc’ bus routes from Redbridge P&R to Oxford Parkway / Oxford North, serving major points in Cowley and Headington (see map).
  • Orbital service 700: Kidlington – Parkway P&R – Summertown – JR Hospital – Churchill Hospital – Headington – Thornhill P&R, added weekend service in July 2023 in anticipation of the Traffic Filters.
  • Enhanced Witney & Orbital service H2: Carterton – Witney – Eynsham P&R – Peartree P&R – Summertown – JR Hospital – Headington. More frequent buses on this route.
  • Enhanced route 5A: Faster and more direct route from Minchery Farm and Littlemore to Cowley and extended to Railway station and Botley
  • Increased frequency on 3A: Blackbird Leys and Littlemore to Oxford Centre
  • Improved frequency on X40: Reading – Wallingford – Oxford
  • Increased frequency on Park & Ride services on weekends and holidays
  • 159 new electric buses, with no tail-pipe emissions, reduced noise levels and the latest inclusivity standards.

Also being worked on are:

  • A joint operator countywide fare offer. (The Oxford SmartZone already allows unlimited travel on all 3 bus operators for under £5 for an adult and under £10 for a group of 5, and reaches Kennington, Cumnor, Kidlington and Wheatley).
  • Other possible improvements once impact of the filters is better understood.

There is a commitment from both Oxford Bus and Stagecoach to re-invest any savings made in running time into improved services.

Eastern Arc Bus Routes Map
Planned Oxford 'Eastern Arc' Bus Routes by the end of 2024

New services and improvements already in place

This is on top of improvements already in place since 2022:

  • New X34 to Didcot to Newbury via Harwell from July 2023
  • New X4 Express service to Banbury via Kidlington, supplementing the S4 in September 2023
  • New 24 Bicester – Kirtlington – Oxford from February 2023
  • New 63 Oxford – Cumnor – Appleton replacing 4C
  • Extended route and increased frequency for the 46: Oxford Centre – Cowley – Great Milton (formerly only from Cowley), in partnership with Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Oxfordshire County Council, from June 2022
  • Enhanced frequency on the 500 Bicester – Brackley in June 2023
  • Restoration of the 64: Witney – Carterton – Swindon bus in November 2023
  • Restoration of early and evening services on the 94/94A: Didcot – Blewbury – Upton in November 2023, which were closed in 2018.

New Rural Bus Services November 2023:

  • 122/123: Watlington to Reading via Nettlebed, Stoke Row, Checkendon, Rotherfield Peppard and Kidmore End. This will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, through Red Rose Travel
  • 126/127: Watlington to Thame via Lewknor, Postcombe, Tetsworth, The Miltons, Chalgrove, The Haseleys and Moreton. This will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Red Rose Travel.
  • 68: Longcot, Fernham, Uffington, Kingston Lisle, Westcot, Sparsholt, Childrey and the Letcombes to Wantage and Faringdon. This will run from Monday to Saturday through Pulhams Coaches.
  • 108: Forest Hill, Stanton St John, Beckley, Horton-cum-Studley, Blackthorn and Piddington to Oxford and Bicester. This will run from Monday to Saturday and is being operated by Oxford Bus Company.

New Rural Bus Routes April 2024:

  • 42: Abingdon to Oxford via Sunningwell, Bayworth, Boars Hill and South Hinksey (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).
  • 49: Cuddesdon and Denton to Cowley Templars Square and Oxford City Centre (Tuesdays and Thursdays; on Tuesdays via Toot Baldon and Marsh Baldon and on Thursdays via King’s Copse and Cowley Tesco).
  • 79: Hornton, Horley and Hanwell to Banbury Town Centre and Banbury Gateway (Thursdays only).
  • 85: Goosey, Charney Bassett, Lyford, West Hanney and Denchworth to Grove and Wantage (Wednesdays only).
  • 107: Oddington, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Fencott and Murcott to Bicester via Langford (Fridays only).
Oxford Bus at a bus stop