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Pensioners stranded as bus company makes 'improvements' and stops service
PENSIONERS say they have been “forgotten” after their only daily bus into Oxford was taken away.
The first thing the residents of Kings Copse, near Garsington, knew about the decision was a notice stuck up at their bus stop by Thames Travel saying it was “making improvements” to its service and buses would no longer stop at the mobile home park.
The residents, who are mostly over 60, were given a week’s notice and have since had to catch taxis or beg lifts from friends to go shopping, to bingo or to the doctor’s.
Mick Burrage, 79, a retired Morris Motors engineer said: “Everyone who lives here worked all their life, paid taxes and we are being treated like second-class citizens.
“This place is for old people, we live here because it is peaceful and quiet, but why should we be forgotten by society?”
Kings Copse estate has about 110 residents and 78 have signed a petition saying they still want the bus service.
The number 106 bus, introduced in 2011, used to stop at Kings Copse every hour from 10am to 6pm. There is still one return bus service to Cowley on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but the rest of the time the nearest bus stop is half an hour’s walk away in Cowley.
Residents say it is too far to carry shopping back. Former Garsington parish councillor David Baker lives on the estate and has met the bus users’ group for Garsington and surrounding villages twice, but he said as they have not been affected they were not sympathetic.
Mr Baker, 69, said: “Every time we speak to Thames Travel they say they will let the new route ‘settle down’ and then look at their figures again so see if it is worth doing.
“Why they route the bus all the way to Oxford seems ridiculous anyway – it only needs to go to Blackbird Leys.”
Thames Travel general manager John Hammond said an average of fewer than five passengers a day used the service from Kings Copse.
He said: “Watlington, Cuxham, Chalgrove and Stadhampton passengers were telling us they wanted a more direct service to the Cowley Centre and Oxford running via the much larger catchment area of Garsington.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t continue to serve Kings Copse and make the changes that the vast majority of our passengers wanted.
“Both of the new routes have proved very successful, justifying the changes.”
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