RESIDENTS who campaigned for a bus from Blackbird Leys to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital say extra buses from the estate is a move in the right direction.
At present, bus company Stagecoach runs one morning bus from Blackbird Leys to the hospital and one return journey in the evening.
But from Sunday this will increase to three journeys in the morning and two in the evening on route 10.
Outside the rush hour, estate residents who need to travel to the hospital in Headington will need to change at Cowley, but can buy one ticket to cover the entire journey.
Parish council chairman Gordon Roper said: “We were after a full service, but this is a start of something good.
“The demand will be there. It is something we have campaigned for.”
Resident and parish councillor Sheila Smith, who said the journey to the hospital has taken her two hours, says a direct link from the estate is needed.
She added: “That will help quite a lot of people. It is a pity it is not all day, but during the busy hours it will help.”
Sally Meachim, from the Clockhouse, which organises activities for older people on the estate, said: “From talking to people locally I am sure this will be helpful for those working at the JR.
“I know there are a lot of people who need to visit friends and family and they wouldn’t necessarily benefit from a rush hour bus.
“It is a step in the right direction, but it would be really helpful to extend the service it is running right through the day and not only in rush hour.”
From Sunday, route 10 will also run every 10 minutes during the day from Monday to Saturday, and every 20 minutes on Sundays from Cowley.
At present, buses run every 12 minutes during the day Monday to Saturday.
There will also be a new fleet of buses used from the end of November.
Hugh Jaeger, chairman of Bus Users UK in Oxford, welcomed the increase in frequency, and said: “I am really pleased on behalf of all passengers in Oxford. This will see route 10 get better. It is a vital route, so this is good news.”
Robyn North, marketing manager at Stagecoach, said the changes are being made in response to increasing demand and added: “Increasing the frequency of route 10 will improve connections to the JR hospital from Cowley and around the city.”
THE NEW TIMETABLE
Peak: There will be up to seven buses an hour instead of six
Off peak: There will be six buses an hour instead of five
Blackbird Leys to John Radcliffe Hospital
Existing departure: 6.18am
New bus: 7.08am
New bus: 7.48am
John Radcliffe Hospital to Blackbird Leys
Existing departure: 7.05pm
New bus: 6.28pm
Stagecoach’s Cowley Connector ticket allows through travel to the John Radcliffe Hospital from Blackbird Leys, Greater Leys, Rose Hill, Littlemore and Minchery Farm by changing buses at Cowley Centre.