A WIDER selection of transport should be encouraged to reduce isolation for some people in rural Oxfordshire, the county council has agreed.

More options for people to get around should be backed for residents, including community bus services and potentially new taxi operators, councillors said.

A motion initially tabled by Conservative cabinet member Eddie Reeves and amended by Labour councillor Laura Price calls for Oxford City Council and other district councils to work together to ensure a ‘diverse range of accessible transport options’.

As part of that, new taxi companies could be encouraged to enter the market. Commercial and community-led bus services could also work together to ‘widen the availability’ of such services.

Mrs Price said the moves would go a way of ‘reconnecting our county’.

John Howson, Liberal Democrat councillor for St Margaret’s ward, said living in Oxford, he can use his bus pass.

But a lack of bus services in rural areas meant other residents are currently excluded.

But Mark Gray, an independent councillor and cabinet member, said examples of extending the potential measures mentioned by Professor Howson are already being completed as part of projects the council is part of.

In one, a bus route funded by developers’ contributions will be launched in South Oxfordshire soon, he said.

Mr Gray said: “I believe these services could be sustainable in a way that bus services run by the big companies weren’t.”

While Liz Leffman, a Liberal Democrat councillor, said she was generally supportive and that the council must back community groups.

She said she was ‘behind getting more variety in bus services’.

But she told councillors that she felt the authority has to ‘give support, not just tell them to get on with it.’