OXFORD'S two major bus companies say they are learning how to tackle the city's congestion problems to deliver better services.

Thanks to an increase in the number of buses and the introduction of contactless payments, Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company have both said they are making improvements.

Our reporter who set out to see if the number five Oxford Bus Company service ran to schedule found that it ran on time, and even arrived in Blackbird Leys a minute early.

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Managing director Phil Southall said: "Congestion has a significant impact on our services, resulting in longer journey times and increased costs. It’s an increasing issue in Oxford requiring urgent attention by all key stakeholders and the introduction of a radical transport strategy that’s fit for purpose."

He added: "In 2012 our Service 5 operating every eight minutes between Blackbird Leys and Oxford Rail Station took 72 minutes to complete the round trip.

"It now takes 88 minutes, a 22 per cent increase in running times. In 2012 we used nine buses to achieve the timetable but today we need 11, resulting in an increase in costs of around £320,000 per year."

Stagecoach, meanwhile, announced this week that 94 per cent of its Oxfordshire customers reported being satisfied with their service.


The company has made improvements to bus travel such as continued investment in new, greener vehicles and the introduction of contactless payments.

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Managing director Chris Coleman said: “These independent results show we are continuing to deliver a consistently high-quality service for our customers and it’s reassuring to see our customers are very satisfied with core areas that are important such as safety and accessibility.

“We are working hard, in partnership with other operators and local authority partners, to provide easier, more affordable and better joined up journeys but we know there is more work required to deliver even better services for our customers."

He added: "Providing our customers with a safe and reliable service is incredibly important to us and we continue to work hard to improve service punctuality and reliability for our customers.  This involves working with the County Council to ensure minimise external factors impacting on journey times - such as road works.   

“The recent 94% satisfaction score demonstrates that our commitment and initiatives are ensuring our services operate to a high standard. Investments into contactless payment, free to use WiFi and digital ticketing have generated improvements in on board experience for our customers."

What do you think about the bus service in Oxford? Let us know in the comments below.