My bus ride to a “living lab project”

Thursday 3rd February 2022

I’d been hearing encouraging news about the way the business and technology park known as Milton Park, near Didcot, is embracing public transport so took a ride out there one day last month to see what’s happening.

Situated two-and-a-half miles west of Didcot Parkway railway station, Milton Park is one of a number of technology and industrial parks around the country owned by MEPC plc. It opened in 2000 on land previously occupied by a Ministry of Defence depot.

Over 9,000 people are employed in 250 or so businesses including technology and pharmaceutical companies, distribution depots (DHL and UPS) and offices of the Vale of White Horse District Council.

Being a park specialising in technology you’d expect a fair sprinkling of techy type buzzwords to encourage you to use public transport and you won’t be disappointed. They’ve got something called “Mi-Link” bringing together different ways for employees to travel to the park including its “own bespoke journey planner platform”, a car pool community, a map showing cycle routes as well as its “own free ebike and bike hire scheme”.

Mi-Link’s website excitedly tells you it’s “the customer-facing name of the MultiCAV project which is being led by an experienced and diverse consortium which is to introduce autonomous vehicles to Milton Park in 2021 and improve the way people move around the park and the wider Didcot region”.

Something tells me that paragraph could usefully be updated as the consortium may well be experienced and diverse (it includes Innovate UK, First Group, Zipabout, Arrival, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Milton Park and University of West England) but unless I’ve missed something, it’s now 2022 and I didn’t notice any autonomous vehicles shuttling around the park, let along the wider Didcot region on my visit last month.

Perhaps the Milton Park website (as opposed to the Mi-Link one) is more realistic when it explains “as part of our Vision 2040, Milton Park is part of the Innovate UK consortium-led living lab project that is trialling autonomous vehicles in the area. The Mi-Link project will integrate autonomous vehicles including e-bikes, shuttles, buses and taxis with existing public transport so people can travel around more quickly and sustainably”.

As autonomous vehicles may be some time away (if ever?) it’s just as well there’s a decent bus service provided by Thames Travel, the bus company managed by Oxford Bus, to Milton Park. Credit also to Milton Park for its obvious support and huge commitment to buses, not only financially supporting the network of bus routes but also with branding, information provision and some very attractive subsidised ticket deals for commuters. These include an amazing price of just £20 for a whole year’s travel in a Didcot Travel Zone which includes Didcot Parkway railway station and Milton Park for employees either living in Didcot or arriving in the town by train.

It’s available through the Oxford Bus/Thames Travel website.

Helpful maps and links to bus timetables are available on the “Mi-Link” website.

As you can see from the above maps there’s a good selection of bus routes linking Milton Park not only with Didcot Parkway station but to towns further afield.

When you arrive at Didcot Parkway there’s a real time sign in the window of the ticket office showing upcoming departures not only for Milton Park but also for another techy type business park not too far away called Harwell Campus. More on that in due course.

Buses to and from Milton Park are operated under the Connector branding.

These provide links to and from Oxford city centre direct (every 20 minutes) on route X2, Oxford’s city centre and John Radcliffe Hospital, Harwell Campus and Wantage (half hourly) on route X32, Abingdon (half-hourly) and Wallingford (hourly) on route 33, and Wantage and Grove (half hourly) on route X36. As all these routes also serve Didcot Parkway, you can appreciate there’s a very frequent service in addition to the bespoke local circular routes 99/99A/99C running half hourly from Didcot Parkway.

In fact most hours after the morning peak there are nine buses an hour linking Didcot Parkway with Milton Park. That’s a pretty good frequency for a business and technology park isolated from anywhere else.

Also, impressively, these are well advertised with departure lists at the bus stops at Didcot Parkway as well as at each bus stop through Milton Park.

The Milton Park blue branding is applied to the bus shelters at Didcot Parkway as well as on road signs and buildings throughout the business park itself.

Thames Travel have also painted at least one double deck and a single deck in the branding.

There may be more, but others I saw carried Connector branding as well as standard Thames Travel branding …

… and former Oxford Bus livery, so it’s a bit of a branding potpourri.

During my train journey down from Paddington to Didcot I thought I’d give the “Mi-link bespoke journey planner” a try to see how convenient the bus connections were from the station to Milton Park. I went to the Mi-Link.uk website where you can easily find the “Plan you journey” tab.

“Our journey planner, delivering real-time travel information tailored to your individual journey and has been uniquely customised for Milton Park. Powered by Zipabout technology, the Mi-Link journey planner is a vital part of the project’s aim to encourage less individual car use by making it easy to plan and undertake sustainable journey options.”

With all due respect to the techy people at Zipabout the only trouble is, it was useless for my travel needs. My train arrived into Didcot at 11:11 but when you open up the “uniquely customised” Journey Planner you first of all have to complete the From and To fields from a list “powered by Google” so, for example, typing in Milton Park brings up Milton Park …. & Ride in Cambridge as the first option!

Hardly “uniquely customised”.

More unhelpful than that, it only allows you to enter a departure time slot every half hour – ie either 11:00 or 11:30.

The answer comes back with all sorts of symbols and indicators including cycling and driving options (I assume from the symbols) but quite frankly I didn’t understand what it all meant, not least the CO2 and ticks and with an X36 journey shown twice…

If you click on the right hand pointing arrow it does at least show further bus departures but only up to the X32 which leaves at 11:12 – not exactly convenient for my 11:11 train arrival. There’s no further right hand arrow to click to get more departures so my ideal departure at 11:25 on route 99A doesn’t appear as the next step is to enter the departure time again as 11:30 which would miss that departure as it left five minutes earlier.

These journey planners which show me how much CO2 I’m using (which, frankly, is meaningless to me as I have no idea how much CO2 is good and how much is bad) are all very well but I’d prefer them to tell me the bus departure I can get rather than the ones I’ll miss.

Anyway I duly caught the 11:25 route 99A which whisked me into Milton Park in no time at all; six minutes in fact. Sadly I was the only passenger on board.

Milton Park is laid out very nicely as a business park.

And even looked inviting on what was a cold, misty, grey January day.

The bus stops are well marked, if lacking a bit of consistency in typeface and logical presentation…

… and I do think they could have spent a bit more on making the bus shelters really stand out as great places to wait for a bus.

They’re a bit bog standard and uninviting. Not exactly “inspiring” despite what I assume is an instruction.

The one thing that struck me while I wandered around the park was just how quiet it all seemed. It was like a Sunday afternoon during lockdown. Mind you it was during the ‘work from home if you can’ edict which probably made a difference.

It was good to see buses pass by at frequent intervals but sad to see so few people on them.

After a good look around, I caught a bus on route 33 which had come from Abingdon and headed back to Didcot and on to Wallingford.

About four passengers got off at the Didcot Parkway with a couple staying on and three more joining us for the ride over to Wallingford. It was one of those classic higgledy piggledy Mercedes Citaro interior layouts with oddly placed luggage racks and seats pointing in all sorts of directions at all sorts of levels.

But it was good to see timetable leaflets available to pick up on board.

I finished off my South Oxfordshire busabout with a ride from Wallingford down to Reading on route X39 which together with its sister X40 link Oxford with Reading and have recently changed hands from Thames Travel to sister company Oxford Bus bringing the latter into Reading for the first time for many years.

Milton Park isn’t the only science and technology park in this part of South Oxfordshire. Six miles to the south west of Didcot is the already mentioned Harwell Campus. Wheras Milton Park is “a place where businesses, big and small, can innovate and thrive”, Harwell Campus is “the UK’s leading science and innovation campus”.

The northern part of the Campus was formerly the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment created in 1946 on the site of RAF Harwell. This use is being gradually decommissioned and the whole site is expected to be cleared for alternative use by 2025.

6,000 employees work in over 200 organisations based on the site with 30 universities also working on site. “Harwell’s community of experts is pioneering advances in Energy, Space, Health and Quantum Computing” and it’s good to know, like Milton Park, many of them travel to and from work by bus. At least I can understand that concept if not what on earth must be going on inside the various buildings on the Campus.

Harwell Campus is at the end of a mile or so dog leg down Abingdon Road with buses carrying out a circuit of the site which adds about ten minutes to the journey time for through passengers, but it must be worth it as there’s a good selection of bus routes serving the site.

Thames Travel route ST1 (it stands for Science Transit Shuttle) provides a half hourly link from Oxford city centre and the Redbridge Park & Ride site via the A34 supplemented by route X32 providing the same link but via Didcot Parkway station and continuing on to Wantage.

There’s also route 98 providing a half hourly shuttle from Didcot Parkway Station.

Two other routes provide a peak hour link to Abingdon (34) and a less frequent link to nearby villages (94).

Thames Travel offer a 20% discount on its South Oxfordshire Zone products on the key smartcard to employees at Harwell Campus.

And like Milton Park, timetable displays at Didcot Parkway as well as bus stops on the Campus are clear and easy to understand.

It’s really good to see such excellent bus services to business parks and the commitment and support of the park owners. Milton Park’s high frequent bus link to Didcot Parkway coupled with a compelling fare offer has to be an exemplar for others to emulate. It shows what can be achieved with partnership working.

Who needs autonomous vehicles?

When the bus offer is so good.

Finally, here we are on the morning of Thursday 3rd February with TfL’s funding running out from tomorrow night and yet again no confirmation of future arrangements. Regional Mayors and aspiring Mayors-to-be take note. This is how devolved regulated “London style” transport works.

Roger French

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThSSU.

Next blog: Saturday 5th February 2022: Cardiff’s powerful electriCity buses.

40 thoughts on “My bus ride to a “living lab project”

Add yours

  1. I presume the Citaro is the 0530 model? We have lots in Cardiff, with the same odd seat arrangement. I wonder if it’s something to do with Britain needing a right-hand drive model? The more recent 0295 models have much more ‘logical’ seating.

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  2. Many thanks for this encouraging review. Let’s hope that, when covid allows, the passengers will come. If this succeeds, it will be an encouragement to extend good bus services to the industrial estates which nowadays surround many towns, and which always seem to have full car-parks.

    I agree that the bus shelters are uninspiring. More to the point, why do they not have (a) a large, clear map of the area and (b) a very large print summary of the bus times, making it as plain as (say) the London tube: where the buses go to, and when is the next one suitable for you. It would be helpful also to have a guide as to where the buses go from other nearby stops (e.g. across the road). As ever, the bus company is good at the buses themselves, but pretty poor at anything ‘off-bus’ – the latter is what passengers – particularly those new to the area – really need. Branding for the stops would be better than on the bus.

    The long list of bus times to Didcot Parkway is good; it could be improved if Saturday times could be rolled into the Mon-Fri list, making the list more manageable, and enabling larger print and/or some train connections to be shown. Here on mainland Europe, many countries manage to have a standard daily timetable even for Christmas Day). Having separate scheduling for Sat and Sun might make a few extra pennies for the shareholders, but has any entrepreneurial bus company ever explored the idea that ‘simpler’ might mean more customers?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is a little bit of a danger in trying to combine MF and SA times into one MS listing . . . if there are some journeys that run MF only or are slightly off-time for a good reason (slightly different running times, for example), then the number of notes risks complicating the listings. Standard daily running times seldom work well; buses end up running late or waiting time along the route.
      Better to have (if possible) an “every 6-10 minutes” listing for off-peak hours, plus a real time display on the shelter.

      I agree that the shelters look rather uninspiring . . . is that the Estate’s responsibility, or the Council’s? Either way, I doubt that it is down to Thames Travel . . . an Enhanced Partnership should remove the “blurring” of such responsibilities.

      Presumably lots of S.106 money is involved . . . I hope it lasts!!

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  3. I hope our regional mayor certainly doesn’t take note. The last thing Birmingham needs is Andy Street controlling directly the bus network. The majority of services are operated from 5am to 1am with some of the lowest fares in England many with high spec Platinum buses. The network provides by National Express West Midlands & DIAMOND Bus is comprehensive and frequent speaking as someone who uses it daily. After its fiasco with West Midlands Metro Transport for West Midlands need to keep well away from buses. An excellent article so well compiled and informative & nice to see something working well in another part of the country many thanks for it .

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  4. I find it interesting that while Harwell has such prolific links north, west and east (within Oxfordshire), it appears to have almost nothing to the south (into what used to be called Berkshire). Assuming that people working at Harwell aren’t restricted to living in Oxfordshire, that suggests there’s going to be a significant number of workers who have no choice but to drive there.

    That said, I wonder what proportion of Milton Park workers who live within the £20/year pass zone still drive there, and how they explain their choice.

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    1. I believe that part of the Oxfordshire and West Berkshire BSIPs is to provide a through link from Newbury to Harwell and Milton Park . . . perhaps by extending the ST1 south to Newbury . . . that’d be a useful route!!

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      1. It’ll be interesting to see if that happens; at the moment Reading Buses (Newbury & District) 6/6a get to West Ilsley but seem as frightened of crossing the border as the Oxfordshire services do. Almost “Here be dragons”…

        I’m a little surprised that there isn’t a a Newbury – Didcot Parkway link given that rail doesn’t really serve that route well, but I guess there just isn’t a viable market for it.

        At least it won’t be s.106 funded; after the saga of the “i54” site s.106 funding damaging provision north of Wolverhampton by artificially destroying the viability of existing provision only for the NXWM services 54 & 154 to vanish soon after the s.106 funding ended, I’m rather wary of s.106 funded provision.

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  5. Whilst we must keep them away from running buses I once attended numerous meetings at Transport for West Midlands in closing new bus shelters. The whole process went on for about a year & although we were sworn to secrecy at the time the shortlist was eventually unveiled in a large industrial unit in Cradley Heath even today when standing in the winning shelters around the city I still think of the amazing process that went in to Brums Bus Shelters

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    1. I don’t think that Thames Transit/Stagecoach Oxfordshire ever ran the X50.They only ever went as far north as Chipping Norton.Midland Red(South) and Oxford Bus are the two major ones on the X50.But I do remember that little private company running it on Sundays but didn’t know it was called Pete’s Travel.Infact it went a tad beyond Birmingham, depending on where you consider Birmingham as ending as effectively it’s just one big city from Solihull to Wolverhampton, and terminated in West Bromwich where I assume Pete had his depot.I caught it once but only from Oxford station to the north of Oxford where I lived at the time.

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      1. Petes Travel are now part of Diamond Bus & used to be based in Hill Top in West Brom now now in Tividale. I am a Brummie born and bred but Petes Travel were a BLCK COUNTRY operator and excellent on the X50 Brum only extends to the old Birmingham City Transport boundarys

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      2. Kevan,
        In 1989 Thames Transit bought out South Midland who’d inherited the COMS (Oxford/South Midland) joint working of the X50 but I *think* South Midland had pulled off the X50 at/around deregulation, so I’m pretty sure you’re right in saying that Thames Transit never worked north of Chipping Norton.
        TT’s minibuses wouldn’t have suited the X50 anyway; MR(S) could fill 53-seater saloons and sometimes double-deckers out of Stratford on that run.

        Oxford Bus Co (the rump COMS after South Midland was split off) never ran the X50, although they did attempt various Citylink workings to Stratford at different times, all of which failed.

        As a thought, I’d be careful about suggesting places like Wolverhampton are “Birmingham”. It’s almost as dangerous as saying that Scotland is part of England, which you can only get away with if you’re an American or other foreign tourist, and even then you’ll get told.
        The conurbation is the West Midlands; Birmingham is merely the big city in that conurbation.

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      3. As a born & bred Brummie Wolverhampton is NOT part of Birmingham , it has NEVER been part of Brum & historically was part of STAFFORDSHIRE & has no connections whatsoever with Brum save for our idiot Mayor; Andy Street; the Frank Spencer of West Midlands Politics and his farcical tinpot Metro. I went to Wolverhampton Polytechnic and have never been back to the so called City since I graduated. The Black Country & Birmingham are two completely different areas with different cultures, accents and food tastes Faggots excepted. BIRMINGHAM is the UNITED KINGDOM 2nd City Wolverhampton is NOT. Enough Said

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      4. Thames Transit had some bigger buses,old Oxford Tube ones I think, and used these on the 390 which went, originally,to London via Henley and Maidenhead but became increasingly truncated.I caught the X50 a few times when visiting the Rollright Stones walking from Long Compton to Chipping Norton via the stones.I seem to recall that a National Express went that way too but only stopped in Woodstock, Chipping Norton,Shipston and Stratford but obviously long gone now.I think that to replicate the X50 now you’d have to change in Chipping Norton and Stratford using S.Oxfordshire,S.Warwickshire and maybe Johnson’s Excell Bus,or is it Johnstone’s.Yes you are correct about the distinction between Birmingham and the Black Country, imperceptible to a non local but keenly felt locally!I was at college in Birmingham and we went on a bus trip with a local historian to the Ironbridge museum near Telford and we passed some tower blocks and I asked him what part of Birmingham that was and he replied,”it’s Wendsbury but it’s not Birmingham it’s the Black Country!”

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      5. It’s actually Wednesbury and is in The Black Country part of Sandwell. The town has a very smart modern bus station and a very new Lesiure Centre I regularly do lane swimming at. Wednesbury main operator is Diamond Bus with other services to Wolverhampton operated by National Express West Midlands. Wednesbury was historically served by joint operations by Birmingham City Transport although NOT part of the City, West Bromwich Corporation, Wolverhampton Corporation & Midland Red. Wednesbury has not cultural connections to Brum it is part of The Black Country

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  6. So the saviour of our bus networks has been factory buses, superstore buses, park and ride, busways/busgates, raillinks (permanent and temporary) and out of town commercial estates. Wow. Playbus? Is God getting jealous?

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    1. For many years it was the 5, joint between Thames Valley (subsequently Alder Valley and Alder Valley North/Bee Line) and City of Oxford (later known as Oxford/South Midland and Oxford Bus Co.).

      Like so many joint routes crossing between company areas it suffered from deregulation and the absolutely ridiculous attitude of the Monopoly & Mergers Commission that pretty much any joint operation of bus services was anti-competitive and therefore illegal.
      Not that the whole saga of Alder Valley North (Bee Line) being asset stripped would have helped, of course.

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      1. You are correct they did run to Reading and I think it was called Oxford Bus Company when I went there in 1989 and they ran a local service to Reading which took about 1 hour and 20 minutes.Apart from the 190/X90 to London Oxford Bus Company have done a few medium distance services and longish locals.The did Oxford Witney which I think was a 90?, Oxford Aylesbury 280?, Oxford Birmingham (joint with Midland Red(South)) might have been X60? and I think that they did the Oxford Birmingham slow via Chipping Norton and Stratford which was the X50.

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      2. Also Petes Travel know part of Diamond Bus held the Sunday tender for many years for the X50 from Brum to Oxford using Denis Darts one of which I was on the Diamond 4H today. Brilliant days for the X50 when Petes Travel on Sunday & Bank Holidays compared with Stagecoach Oxford & Go Ahead Oxford an operator head & shoulders ahead of the pack still going today in Brum as Diamond Bus part of Rotala

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  7. Hello again Roger,

    You’ve managed once more to stir my nostalgia with your review of Milton Park and surrounding area bus services. I started with City of Oxford Motor Services, predecessor to Oxford Bus Company, and my first job was to write out the master fare charts for an upcoming fares increase, so places like “Rowstock Corner”, “Milton Turn” and the like are seared into my memory as Fare Stages.

    That’s an incredible level of service that’s being provided – one wonders just how long the subsidy will flow to keep it all going, but in the meantime it all looks pretty good. Apart from that journey planner!

    I cannot help point to one correction: this is not the first time that Oxford Bus has run into Reading. There was a long standing hourly Oxford-Wallingford-Reading service operated jointly by COMS and Thames Valley which lasted well into the 70s, maybe even until dereg. It was numbered 34 by COMS, 5 by Thames Valley, since neither company would adopt the other’s number because of duplication with their other services. That ignored the problem that once every two hours, when the “foreign” vehicle was running in the “home” City, such confusion as was trying to be avoided would occur, e.g. is this number 5 going along the Cowley Road, or down St Aldates?!

    You continue to provide me with much interest and pleasure!

    Best regards

    David

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks David. I’ll update that point about City of Oxford/Oxford Bus in Reading – I did wonder as I wrote it as when I was at Reading University in the early 1970s I vaguely recalled seeing a COMS bus but memories are hazy these days! So pleased it stirred your nostalgia. I agree about fare stages – they’re so nostalgic.

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    2. Just to add a bit of history. The owners of Milton Trading Estate subsidised an hourly extension of the COMS 35 Oxford to Abingdon service to Didcot via Milton Park well before 2000 – a figure of £20,000 per annum sticks in my mind since the extension required an extra bus to operate. At the time such an agreement was somewhat unusual – the trading estate covered the overhead cost of the bus with COMS taking the risk of covering additional operating costs from fare revenue. Leyland Olympians were generally used and indeed 4 single door Olympians (most COMS Olympians being dual dor) were acquired by COMS from AERE Harwell when they ceased providing their own staff transport would sometimes be allocated to this service.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. However odd the Mercedes seating arrangements are, I can say this is a benefit to passengers wishing to travel in groups so they can interact with each other using reverse-facing or longitudanal seating, much opposed to school-style forwards only seats.

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    1. However the vast majority of bus passengers in the UK are not in such groups so that style seating is a disbenefit to more people than it benefits.

      Much like the current fad for tables upstairs, where it’s very rare to see more than one or two people sat at those tables, effectively what happens is that a bay of four seats is occupied by one person and other people won’t sit there unless the bus is full, thus reducing effective capacity.

      Longitudinal seating has historically been used for seats above the front wheelarch where as much as anything else it’s about providing a wider aisle for passenger circulation; where it’s been fitted above rear wheelarches (see most double-deckers of the 1970s & 1980s) those seats have traditionally been less favoured by the customers.

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      1. I’ve only seen tables on 1 local bus that being,you guessed it ,a Park and Ride the 400 which ran West East across Oxford.Of course the Park and Ride set might question if it’s a local bus being a cut above the normal passengers!

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  9. There used to be an hourly all day service Didcot – Harwell – Newbury, but ended some years ago, except for some peak hour Harwell to Newbury journeys. From what you say, it sounds like they have ceased too.

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  10. But also very useful for disrespectful people to put their feet in the seats, something that makes the journey very uncomfortable for me and no douby many others.

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    1. A really interesting article. This is what buses should be doing, linking railway stations with places of employment, plus hospitals, colleges etc. Not just running from residential areas to town centres and packing up when the shops shut, and this requires enhanced partnerships to make it work.

      I liked the comprehensive travel information and signage etc. Too often bus stops are neglected by all involved. In my town, responsibility for bus shelters has been transferred from the LTA (Wiltshire Council) to the town council (who have no involvement with buses otherwise). This seems perverse to me. I recently emailed the council pointing out the graffiti, torn fly posters, sticky tape residue, uncleanliness, missing glass panels, and moss growth! There cannot be a routine inspection/maintenance process with this level of deterioration.
      My request hasn’t been accepted because I didn’t do it via theonline reporting app, and didn’t provide photos! I then emailed my local councillors but after a week they haven’t even acknowledged receipt. Bus Back Better indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. In normal times, double decks used to run to capacity between Didcot and Milton Park at peak times. Courtney used to run a dedicated double deck shuttle, supplimented by various interurban services.

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  12. The X39/40, although run by Oxford, does retain an element of Thames Travel operation, certainly in terms of drivers, if not buses. One driver very recently changed over at Wallingford, and was saying it’s not so good now having to wait for a 33 to take him back to Didcot, compared to when the depot was in Wallingford.

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  13. Well if you’d call the Daily Mail technology!They have a huge place,I assume printing it,at Milton Park?A very modern looking building churning out views more suited to the 1920’s with naturally the more up-to-date addition that motorists should be allowed to do whatever they want.

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  14. ‘The Mi-Link project will integrate autonomous vehicles including e-bikes, shuttles, buses…..’

    What the devil is an autonomous e-bike ?

    We all know about self driving cars, but a self driving two-wheeled bicycle ? That’s scary, if you think about it !

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    1. To be honest, I think a computer-controlled pushbike would be rather less dangerous than the human-controlled version given the amount of careless (and often blatantly dangerous) cycling I see on a daily basis.

      I doubt the computer-controlled version would ignore traffic lights, randomly zig-zag on-and-off footpaths or ride straight at pedestrians veering away at the last moment only when it becomes apparent the pedestrian won’t be intimidated into flattening themselves against a wall, all of which is behaviour I’ve witnessed from local cyclists.

      I suspect that once the software is mature, autonomous vehicles will massively reduce the risk to all road users, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike, although I can see the petrolheads (and their cycling equivalents) screaming with rage at the loss of freedom to drive/ride like morons.

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  15. Another Herts/London Bus route being axed. . It operated in London under a London service permit

    The long standing route 84 which is operated by Potters Bar is being axed in April unless another operator steps in to operate it on a cmmercial basis

    How long the 242 will last who knows. The 242 does get a small amount of HCC funding

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  16. New Horizon Travel to cease trading

    Their school routes have already been taking over by Stephensons who have set up a new operating base in Fratting

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  17. As a further reminiscence from COMS days, another inter-urban route run jointly with Thames Valley was the 12 (TV 112 if I remember correctly, with red Lodekkas) along the A34 between Oxford and Newbury via Abingdon and Rowstock, also passing the AERE.

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  18. I find it strange Metrolne pulling out of the 84 completly . A number of operators might be interested in picking up the route on a commercil basis. I think it is a given the ther Potters Bar to New Barnert section will go

    A possibility is an hourly service St Albans to Potters Bar and an Hourly service St Albans to London Collney . THe Sunday service being axed or becomes an HCC Contract

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