Bus link to hospitals secured by council funding

A vital bus service linking Kidlington and Summertown with Oxford’s hospitals and park and ride sites has been saved.

The 700 route, which serves the John Radcliffe Hospital, Churchill Hospital, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, and Thornhill and Oxford Parkway park and rides, was set to be withdrawn as it was not commercially viable.

As a result, Oxfordshire County Council stepped in with financial support to enable Oxford Bus Company to operate the service – which was used by more than 350,000 passengers in the past year – until 30 August 2024. The change followed a tendering process and will come into effect from 3 July 2023.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “This will be a great relief to the hundreds of people who use this service every day, including many who use it to access the city’s hospitals. We appreciate the importance of an effective bus service in helping people to get where they need to be and reducing the number of cars on our congested roads.”

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director, said: “We are pleased to be commencing the operation of service 700 from 3 July via a contract with Oxfordshire County Council. This ensures continuity of the service and we look forward to welcoming passengers on-board.”

This service will operate up to every 30 minutes, Monday to Friday, to the same route and timetable as the current service.

For existing customers who hold SmartZone passes, these will continue to be valid for use on the 700 as well as the wider network of local bus services provided by Oxford Bus Company, Stagecoach, Thames Travel or Arriva.

More details about the service, including timetable, route map and ticketing arrangements, are available on Oxford Bus Company’s website.

Any users who currently use a pass that is valid for travel on Stagecoach buses only will need to email oxford.enquiries@stagecoachbus.com with any enquiries for refunds.

Bus passengers can continue to take advantage of the government’s £2 fare cap which has been extended until 31 October 2023.

Park and ride users can also continue to buy cut price tickets covering both parking and return bus travel, making journeys less stressful without the need to find a space at the hospitals.

The current offer costs £4 for a car with only one adult, or £5 for a car and two adults. With both options, up to three children under 16 can travel for free.

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