In a Thomas Hardy moment, Ruth joined Steve Goddard, the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for our constituency, and Catherine Bearder, the prospective MEP, in an impromptu rural adventure on Sunday. Click here to see more…
You may be interested in the 3 year schedule for replacing bus shelters in Headington. All will have seats, and there is a timetable as follows:
Headington Road opp Brookes
Headington Rd outside 192/194
Headington Rd outside 214
Headington Rd outside Girls’ School
London Rd opp No. 25 Dial House
Headington Rd opp South Park
London Rd outside outside 133/135 Allen and Harris
London Rd outside 137 Connell’s
London Rd outside 23/25
Windmill Rd adjacent Rock Edge (no existing shelter)
London Rd outside 108/110 Marie Curie
London Rd outside 236 Drinks Cabin
The staggering thing I’ve learned about bus-related issues this week is that the County Council pays for the bus stop poles and the timetables, and the City Council pays for the bus shelters. So even though there is information space for the timetables (County) built into the new bus shelters (City), the timetables are still being affixed to the posts (County). Another piece of evidence to support the case for unitary authorities?
Just a quick note to say please do not be tempted to cement in a DIY drop kerb outside your house and hope that nobody notices! Our attention has been drawn to a couple of these within the last month.
Council planners do become involved when consent is required for crossings
to commercial premises or properties fronting to classified roads. Applications are dealt with by the County Council from their Kidlington Office.
If a cemented in drop kerb results in clear ‘interference with the Highway’ then it is a criminal offence, and will be investigated promptly.
Today is the first anniversary of the establishment of Headington’s Farmers’ Market. I visited it this morning and it was, once again, a bustling occasion, with a range of excellent stalls in the autumn sun, and many local residents enjoying the event. It’s having an excellent first birthday party.
I am delighted it’s working so well: it is some time ago now that I mooted the idea of a Farmers’ Market to the good people of Headington Action. There was real support for the idea but it would have remained a twinkling in our eyes if it hadn’t been for the dedication of one man: Charles Young. He’s liaised with the various farmers and other stall-holders and turned a thought into a reality. We owe all of Headington Action a debt of gratitude, but in particular to Charles.
Birthdays are also a time to look ahead so here are some wishes I have for the second successful year of this venture:
- That the stall-holders stop offering plastic bags to customers (it happened to me twice today).
- That we can add some community activities to the day — in particular, having a ‘bike doctor’ there, or a recycling point. These are ideas close to the hearts of those involved in Low-Carbon Headington.
- That the Market continues to get in profile and, with it, help convince investors that Headington is a district centre they need to be, so that we can have a range of shops of which we all can be proud.
I’ll be off later to gut the fish I bought, and to look forward to the succulent venison steaks that were on sale. What a great initiative: thank you, Headington Action, and thank you, Charles Young. And: happy birthday, Headington Farmers’ Market!
David and I had a meeting with Martin Sutton from Stagecoach yesterday evening where we aired the issues you wanted to raise relating to bus services in Headington. Here’s our report back to you.
- Buses from Headington to Summertown
Many of you have raised the issue of there not being a direct bus to and from Summertown. We have raised this, in particular suggesting a direct route, without going through the city centre, which would also have the advantaged of helping the residents on the top half of Headley Way to have a bus service again. Martin Sutton told us they have looked into this before and gave a guarantee that Stagecoach would look at this again.
In discussing this and other issues, he clarified some of the economics as Stagecoach see them. They calculate that each bus on the road costs c£180K a year to run, this equates to c£38 per hour, though clearly different types of buses incur different costs. They take as the key indicator for performance is the “average operating speed” of the bus – the higher this is, the higher the cost of the service. The average operating speed of the bus should ideally be between 12 and 18 mph. The average operating speed of the no. 10 has been recorded as low as 8 mph but its usage has improved since the service became more frequent.
- No 10 bus route
On this, it’s fair to say, there was not a meeting of minds. We explained our long-held concerns about buses going down Osler Rd, causing problems for residents and cyclists, while Headley Way, where residents need a bus, goes unserved. Martin said that previous figures had suggested very few people got on a bus on Headley Way, while taking the bus into the JR by Osler Rd was seen as essential to that service (even though, in our experience, very few people actually use that particular stretch). We’ve heard all that before but what we did get was an agreement that we will be provided with the passenger statistics for this (and other) routes. We have asked for ‘before and after’ figures with reference to the introduction of the National Bus Pass scheme. Residents have also told us that weekend U10 buses on the section from Headley Way to the JR are underused.
- London buses through Headington
This is a contentious issue locally: some residents have expressed the view that London buses should be re-routed so that they do not run through Headington; others are equally adamant that this bus service is one of the reasons to live in the area. We asked for information about the importance to Stagecoach of having a Headington stop. The latest figures suggest that nearly a quarter of passengers get on the London-bound Oxford Tube between St Clements and London Road (60% of passengers have boarded by the time buses reach the Plain, and 83% of passengers have boarded by the time buses reach the London Road roundabout). Clearly, the bus companies would be very reluctant to re-route their buses away from Headington. What we need to focus on is making sure that they don’t block up the roads, as they sometimes do with the present road layout and some selfish parking by van-drivers.
- Bays on London Road
Our residents in Windmill Road had asked if the designated bus and taxi parking lanes could be swapped over to make it easier for buses to pull in next to Iceland without having to overtake vehicles. Martin is going to consult his staff about this. This was a helpful meeting for all of us, and we hope to meet again for further discussion.
- Other useful information
The bus company currently appealing the sum reimbursed to it by the City Council for passengers who are travelling with concessionary passes as part of the National Bus Pass scheme. If the rate of reimbursement is low, there is little incentive for bus companies to extend services in areas where there is a higher percentage of older passengers who use this scheme.
It is possible for bus companies to change routes and times of services providing they give 56 days’ notice to the County Council. It is possible for the County Council to write a condition into a contract for a subsidised route that can enforce two bus companies to tender fares in such a way that a joint ticket scheme can be administered, but problems can arise if the contracts for each of the two companies have separate expiry dates or if the ticket machines on the buses are not of a similar type.
In conclusion, the meeting provided a useful discussion and some helpful information. More importantly, it is part of an on-going dialogue where Stagecoach is left in no doubt of local feeling. We will work to make sure this achieves improvements for local residents over the longer term.
Many thanks to all who came to our street surgery in Old High Street on Tuesday evening, we learned a great deal about the issues that concern the residents in that area, including cycle routes, concerns about poorly maintained properties, gardens, hedges and trees, interest in a new Friends of Bury Knowle Park group, the need for a noticeboard at the entrance to The Croft, speeding, the no. 10 bus route and traffic hold-ups in Osler Road, the need to re-design the entrance/exit at Somerfields, and the licencing conditions of local public houses.
The nights are beginning to draw in now, so an excellent suggestion has been made to hold a forthcoming street surgery in a local hostelry. Watch this space for details!
York Road residents showed us the poor pavement surfaces in their road when David, Roz and I held our site inspection there recently. We have good news to report! We asked the City Council engineering team to assess the problem for us and they confirmed today that improvement work will be done on the stretch of pavement from nos. 4-34 later on this week. Together we have made it happen – thanks to all residents for your feedback!
We have a meeting with Martin Sutton of Stagecoach on Wednesday evening and we are hoping to raise a number of issues that have been reported to us by residents in our ward. If you have any specific concerns, please contact us (see left hand toolbar for details)
Issues so far include:
the number 10 service – change of route from Headley Way to Osler Road, whether some services should turn round at Cowley Centre, safety of cyclists and other road users in Osler Road and the lack of space for queuing at the Windmill Road bus stop (the latter is not an easy problem to solve);
the frequency of Brookes buses at weekends and in vacation;
the possible issue of joint-provider scholars’ tickets;
the resurrection of a through service from Headington to Summertown;
a possible switch of designated taxi and bus spaces outside Iceland
All views welcomed, including positive comments – I know some people have said how pleased they are with the buggy-friendly and disabled-friendly service provided by Stagecoach and we will make sure to mention this!
The County Council has given notice that it intends to provide additional disabled persons’ parking places and confirms others at the following locations in our ward. If you want to see the proposals in full, please consult them at Bury Knowle Library. The closing date for observations/comments is Friday 10 October, and they need to be sent to Mike Ruse, Traffic Regulation Officer, at Speedwell House, Speedwell Street, Oxford, OX1 1NE tel 01865 815700 email: email@example.com
Outside no. 13 Gathorne Road
Outside 70 Lime Walk
Outside no. 102 Lime Walk
Outside 8 Norton Close
Old High Street – west side; from a point 2om north of a point opposite the southern kerb line of North Place, northwards for a distance of 6.6m. At the southern end of the residents’ parking bay
Sandfield Road – North-east side; from a point 60m north-west of the north-western kerb line of London Road, northwards for a distance of 6m
At times like this, I wish I possessed a compass!
This afternoon, I walked round the social housing areas in the ward with officers from Oxford City Homes, City Works and the Area Co-ordinator to identify areas that need maintenance or upgrading. Here is one area we found in Mattocks Close, and we have asked the Works Dept to submit quotes for levelling this pavement to City Homes so that it can be upgraded. If you would like more details of this site inspection, please hit the comment button or contact us for more information.
Below is a picture of North Place, David and I have asked OCH to tell us when the properties will be double glazed, and we have asked them to investigate internal noise reduction too