THAMES Travel has launched a new service linking Abingdon town centre and Culham Science Centre to support economic growth.

Service 45 operates at peak hours on Mondays to Fridays with an extra afternoon trip on Friday afternoons. It is the first time a bus service has served the major employment hub for three years, after previous funding was withdrawn.

Buses now depart from Abingdon Stratton Way stop A1 and the last stop on the route will be the main reception of Culham Science Centre.

Return buses will start from outside Culham Conference Centre before returning to Abingdon.

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The new service comes after Thames Travel invested £1M in a new fleet of six ultra-low emission (Euro VI) vehicles to launch a Science Shuttle Service connecting key sites in Oxford and the city to Harwell in July.

Thames Travel managing director Phil Southall said: “Our new Service 45 will connect Abingdon with Culham Science Centre, which is another key employment hub in the south of the county.”

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“The introduction of this service was made possible by working in partnership with Culham Science Centre to unlock vital funding from the development of the apprenticeship training facility and the expansion of other key facilities.

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"It demonstrates what can be achieved when key stakeholders work together and how important grants are to public transport operators to run some services.”

Caroline Livingstone, head of property at Culham Science Centre and UK Atomic Energy Authority, said: “We are so pleased to once again have a bus service which will be of huge benefit to employees, apprentices and businesses in addition to supporting our goals of increasing sustainable travel.”

Thames Travel’s fleet of buses are low emission vehicles and it is the third largest bus operator in Oxfordshire.

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It serves South Oxfordshire and into Berkshire, carrying 2.9 million passengers per year.

Earlier this year Thames Travel moved its depot to Didcot as part of its investment into the area and its fleet, infrastructure and people.