County statement on pavement widening in the High

Thanks to a colleague for forwarding this response to an FOI request.

Thank you for your request of 29 October 2017 in which you asked for the following information:

1. The cost to the taxpayer of the recent pavement widening in Oxford High Street, including officer time planning the change, contracting with suppliers and all other associated costs.

2. What assessment of the impact on traffic flows was done.

3. What assessment of the impact on cyclist safety was done.

The footway widening to which you are referring was undertaken as part of a series of transport improvement measures in relation to the proposed prohibition of vehicles using Queen Street and the knock-on effect that would have on the surrounding city road network, including bus routeing. Due to the cost savings from undertaking these works as part of a wider piece of work, the apportionment of costs is hard to quantify in detail however the works were approximately £40k.

This widening was also implemented with pedestrians in mind to improve their and bus passenger experience in an area where the narrow footway was a source of complaints. This widening enables the provision of bus shelters to further improve infrastructure for bus passengers.

Due to the small size and nature of the works it is not necessary to undertake an informed assessment of the impact on traffic flows, beyond the acknowledgement that there is likely to be a small detrimental impact which is considered acceptable in the context of the wider benefits to other user groups.

The implemented works are now being closely monitored which has, only last week, resulted in the relocation of bus stop L2 to alleviate the blockages and delays that had materialised since its introduction. Further minor changes to traffic regulation orders in the vicinity may be forthcoming in the future if considered necessary.

Cyclists, as well as other vulnerable road users’ safety are a priority for the county council and the design was informed using national standards and guidance.

Access to Headington: conflict of use of space at bus stops

Bus stops and crossings in new highways works are always tricky in terms of off-carriageway infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists as they are inherently points where desire line cross.

We asked the County Council about the possible conflict between bus passengers alighting and passing cyclists near the bus stops in the Slade. Here is the response we received:

The areas outside the bus stops and crossings are shared space rather than cycle lane/pedestrian lane so both users share priority.  The appropriate signage and markings will be in place in order to remind users of the change in priority.

Industrial action update from Oxford Bus

We have just received the following statement from the managing director of Oxford Bus Company.

I am writing to update you on the dispute with Unite the Union over Christmas and New Year working and pay negotiations that led to the strike action taken on 2 and 6 March 2017.

Constructive talks have been taking place since the second day of action and I am pleased to advise you that the company has made an offer to Unite that the majority of its members have accepted. This means that the dispute has now been resolved and there should be no further disruption to our services as a result of strike action.

This has been a very difficult time for the company and I very much regret any inconvenience this dispute has caused. I would also like to thank you for your patience whilst a resolution was sought. We can now get back to working together to deliver the high quality bus services that we all strive to achieve on a daily basis.

Planned strike action by bus drivers on Thursday

Oxford Bus Company has posted up a list of services that may be affected:

We will work as hard as we can to provide the following services on the planned strike days:

  • the airline Heathrow and Gatwick
  • cityX3
  • city13
  • city4/4A/4B/4C
  • city6
  • city35
  • park&ride300
  • park&ride400
  • BROOKESbusU1
  • BROOKESbusU5
  • School services city3B, city6C and city35A

It is unlikely that the following services will run and so we recommend you make alternative arrangements:

  • city2/2A/2B/2C/2D
  • city3/3A
  • city4B (between Oxford City and Abingdon)
  • city5
  • city8/9
  • cityX13
  • the airline Birmingham
  • X90 London
  • BROOKESbusU4
  • park & ride 500

For further information including whether or not tickets are transferrable to services run by other operators, please visit the Oxford Bus website at:


Science Transit Bus route update

Following intervention from Headington Lib Dem councillors, the following communication has been received from the University.

After meeting the County and discussion with UNO Bus Ltd we have agreed to maintain the service on the current routing for the time being and not to implement a diversion.

We will continue to review the situation and if it does transpire that congestion causes problems with reliability we will again re-examine.  However, a diversion by Lime Walk is clearly in no-one’s interest whilst the Heat Pipe works are in operation.

I will contact you in advance if this situation changes and would be happy to meet in due course

Ruth says,

This is a welcome move by the University at a time when many residents are beset by roadworks, parking displacement, and temporary road closures.

Change of route for Science Transit shuttle bus during Roosevelt Drive works

We have been copied into the following message to Highfield Residents’ Association by the University of Oxford. We are very concerned about this proposed change of route which will further inconvenience Highfield residents at what will already be a highly stressful time, and set a precedent for minibuses through residential roads in the area.

Since 18 July 2016 the Science Transit Shuttle has provided a rapid and reliable connection every weekday between the Science Area and Old Road Campus for the University’s researchers, technicians and post-graduates.  The ST2 Old Road Campus route was implemented by the University in response to the inadequate public transport connections and to reduce the number of taxi and private car trips between these key sites for research and innovation in the City.  Due to the traffic congestion associated with Oxfordshire County Council’s Access to Headington works at the Old Road/Roosevelt Drive junction, the ST2 service has been experiencing serious delays, adversely impacting on the reliability and journey times.  Consequently the ST2 service will be diverted from the current route on Old Road/Warneford Lane and instead circulate via Lime Walk / Stapleton Road / London Road from 31st October 2016 until such time as reliable journey times return on Old Road/ Warneford Lane.  The private service is using 16 seater minibuses running every 30 minutes between 7am and 7pm.  Queries about the service should be directed to

We have contacted the University expressing our concerns. More to follow.

Action on language school students

We received a complaint that huge numbers of language school students with red bags were waiting for buses at the Latimer Road stop and have investigated further. The school in question appears to be Academia Britannica and we have contacted the London-based organisation Find Digs to express our concern.

They reply:

These students did indeed study with us. 

These groups are part of an Italian Government sponsored scheme to study and visit the UK, we at Find Digs provide the college and accommodation for them. We further aid them with operations organising such things as excursions, airport transfers and buying travel cards for them so as to make their entry on to the bus as smooth as possible. However the groups with their own leaders take the students on afternoon excursions. 

In all honesty this is the first year we have had these groups in Oxford as they normally stay in London. Looking at the photo you have sent I can see that the group is too large for bus stop and is something we need to address. 

Our centre has closed now but we will endeavour to action this for next summer. The most obvious thing I can suggest at this stage is that we will split the group into smaller groups and they will stagger their departure time into Oxford which should minimise the impact on local residents. 

If you wish to discuss this further then please do not hesitate to contact me.

We have given them advice on how to join the Language Schools Forum which can assist such organisations with advice on how to buy pre-paid tickets, where to get maps of Oxford, how to stay safe in Oxford etc. We shall monitor the situation again next year as it appears they will be using Dorset House again.

Enquiries about language school students

We’ve followed up concerns about impact on bus travel relating to language school students. Here is a response from the EF International Language Centre. We are contacting EF Language Travel too. The complaints were around packing of bus stops and of language students not having bus passes so slowing boarding time for residents.

Thanks for sharing concerns of local residents about disruption caused by language students.  We appreciate that this can be a challenge for people going about their daily lives during the busy summer months and do work with the local bus companies to do what we can do ease the situation.  I am sorry that some of your constituents are unhappy but would like to stress that whilst at times something of a nuisance, language students are generally well-behaved and do not present a threat.  

I am the Director for EF International Language Centre, which is a school for older students running courses year round.  Our students are aged 16+ and generally travel as individuals.  We do not have a lot of large group activities or movement around the city, and looking at the details of times and locations from the complaints you have received, these are certainly not activities which we have been involved with.

However our sister company, EF Language Travel, does have more group focused operations in Oxford through the summer vacation period, in particular running courses at Oxford Brookes campus in Gipsy Lane.  I will forward the complaints you have received to my counterparts there and ask them to consider ways which issues can be avoided as much as possible.

We are renting a small number of rooms at Dorset House, as noted in one email.  Our students arrived there last Sunday 10th July and will be there just for a few weeks.  Whilst there are restrictions on use during term time, student accommodation like Dorset House is available to any educational organisation during university vacations.  I believe there are a number of schools renting accommodation there but I will also pass these concerns to the manager in order that she can discuss with all schools. 



Consultation: pedestrianisation of Queen Street

There is a County Council consultation setting out proposals for pedestrianizing Queen Street. Here is their information below.


  • Oxfordshire County Council proposes to improve Queen Street in central Oxford by prohibiting buses, taxis and private hire vehicles from using it. This would in effect make the street largely ‘pedestrianised’ – similar to Cornmarket.  
  • No changes are proposed to access for cyclists and delivery vehicles, which would continue to be permitted between 6pm and 10am.    
  • Between New Road and New Inn Hall Street (i.e. through Bonn Square), cycling will continue to be permitted 24 hours a day, as now.

Why pedestrianise Queen Street

Queen Street forms part of one of the main east-west routes across the city centre, and pedestrian and cycle numbers are expected to increase significantly in future as a result of development in the city’s West End and elsewhere across Oxford

It is vital that strong pedestrian and cycle links are maintained and encouraged, and improvements to the pedestrian experience are made, to ensure a well-connected and joined up city centre that will continue to thrive

The pedestrianisation of Queen Street is part of the county council’s Local Transport Plan and Oxford City Council’s development plan for the West End, the West End Area Action Plan. It is an important element of wider improvements to the public realm in the city centre, such as the recent transformation of Frideswide Square

It is proposed that the changes required to pedestrianise Queen Street are made by the time the new Westgate centre opens in autumn 2017

This is because major changes to bus routes and stops will be required when the new Westgate centre opens in any event. Co-ordinating these changes with the Queen Street proposals will minimise disruption and will also mean Queen Street will be better able to cope with the increased numbers of pedestrians and cyclists going to and from the enlarged Westgate centre once it opens

This proposal is not part of the Westgate development, but Oxfordshire County Council is working closely with the Westgate Oxford Alliance (the owners of the Westgate centre) to plan this project

Proposed changes

The project includes a package of measures to provide alternative arrangements for buses, taxis, and private hire including:

  • New bus routes around the city centre to allow buses to avoid Queen Street and serve the expanded Westgate centre
  • A new bus turnaround at the Worcester Street/New Road junction, including new zebra crossing facilities on New Road, Worcester Street and Park End Street
  • Changes to bus stop locations, including removal of the bus stop in Bonn Square
  • Changes to the pick and set down points for many bus services
  • Relocation of loading bays on certain streets
  • Relocation of disabled parking bays on certain streets
  • Relocation of taxi rank at Carfax

Project costs and funding

It is estimated that the infrastructure required to close Queen Street will cost around £965,000. This includes some major works to create the turnaround at the Worcester Street/New Road junction, provision of new bus stops and shelters, and changes to pavements

At this stage the project is not fully funded; funding sources are to be confirmed following further design work to finalise the proposals, including consideration of the feedback from this consultation.

This consultation

This consultation will run from 9th May to 6th June. Your views are invited on all aspects of the proposals.

Future consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders

Some of the proposals require amendments to existing Traffic Regulation Orders. These will be advertised separately later in the summer, as part of the formal consultation on the scheme

Responses to this consultation will be used to further refine the scheme in advance of that formal consultation

Project timetable (subject to consultation and funding)

Initial consultation                                     May/June 2016

Consultation on TRO amendments          Summer 2016

Detailed design commences                    Autumn 2016

Construction period                                  April – Sept 2017

Westgate opens and changes come into effect   October 2017

Details of all of the proposals are available at

Paper copies are available on request.

contact details are below.

Oxfordshire County Council

Speedwell Street


Or e-mail them at:

The deadline for comments is: Monday 6th June 2016

Telephone: 01865 792422