New bus service joins park and ride

Oxfordshire County Council has awarded a contract to Stagecoach to run services linking Water Eaton and Thornhill park and rides to the John Radcliffe, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Churchill Hospitals, Oxford University Old Road Campus and Oxford Brookes Gipsy Lane campus. The new services will be known as Headington Connect.

This will add to the existing park and ride options offered by the popular Oxford Bus Company 400 which serves the city centre via Headington  and their 500 service which runs to the city centre from Water Eaton.

The new Headington Connect bus services are part of a multi-million package of improvements to the county council’s park and ride site at Thornhill park and ride funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The improvements include:

  • 500 extra new spaces
  • Free* OxonBike cycle hire
  • New café facilities provided by the Kookaburra Café
  • Improved signs

The new bus services will run initially for three years. They replace and improve the current 600 service from Thornhill Park and Ride to the Churchill Hospital and 700 service from Water Eaton Park and Ride to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

There are now more than 1,400 parking spaces at the Thornhill site and 810 spaces at Water Eaton meaning that “car park full” signs should be a thing of the past for motorists.

Other improvements on the site, including the Kookaburra Café run by Australian ex-pat Grant Gibson and the successful OxonBike hire scheme, have already proved to be a hit with commuters.

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Cabinet Member for transport, said: “I am delighted to launch what I am sure will be an invaluable bus service for a wide range of people.

“The park and rides are an easy way to get into the city centre, but these bus services also provide numerous ways for workers, students, shoppers and patients to commute, study and attend hospital appointments easily and efficiently.

Martin Sutton, Managing Director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious new contract and to be working closely with Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and other stakeholders.

“The new Headington Connect services will not only provide people with other connections to Headington but also a greener and smarter way to travel.”

There are three Headington Connect routes:

  • Headington Connect 700 from Kidlington and Water Eaton Park and Ride to the John Radcliffe hospital, Brookes University, Churchill hospital, University of Oxford Old Road Campus and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.
  • Headington Connect 800 from Thornhill Park and Ride to Headington and John Radcliffe hospital.
  • Headington Connect 900 from Thornhill Park and Ride to Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, University of Oxford Old Road Campus and Churchill Hospital.

Stagecoach single and return tickets will be available on all three routes, as well as Megarider and Oxford SmartZone products. The new bus services will operate Monday to Friday on a 20 minute frequency on all three routes from 06:15 to 20:40 to help people get to and from work.

The four new buses for Headington Connect 800 and 900 will be in service from Monday. The five new double decker buses for Headington Connect 700 will be arriving in November.

The new bus services are part of a package of improvements under the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) and will complement the expansion of Thornhill Park and Ride.