Updated 24 September 2020
Chiltern Railways started a new timetable on Monday 7 September. They are now operating between two and three services an hour between Oxford and London on weekdays.
Timetable details are available on the Chiltern Railways website.
There is a Journey Check Alert service which staff can subscribe to, for real time updates on their specific route into work.
Further details can be found on the Chiltern Railways website.
GWR have updated their timetable and from 14 September all weekday services return to 98% of the September 2019 timetable. This means:
- All stopping services between Banbury and Oxford are restored.
- Half-hourly stopping service between Didcot Parkway and Oxford resumed.
GWR also advise that "any staff who have a hidden disability that makes wearing a face covering difficult, we are part of the Sunflower Lanyard scheme and can provide these without charge. Please ask staff to email passenger.assist@GWR.com or use @gwrhelp on twitter and we will send directly to them."
They report that there is a 90% uptake of face coverings. Loadings are 30% of pre-pandemic numbers.
Further details are available on the GWR website.
Cross Country Trains
Cross Country Trains also started a new timetable on Monday 7 September. Services are now available as follows:
- Reading to Oxford - three services operating per hour, at 09:13, 10:15, and 11:16 and onwards throughout the day.
- Oxford and Banbury there is an hourly service operating at 39 minutes past each hour.
Visit the Cross Country Trains website for details of service disruption due to COVID.
The bus companies are running a near normal service and there is enough capacity to continue to deliver socially distanced travel. Infection risk is being minimised by social distancing and intensive cleansing regimes.
Oxford Bus Company (OBC) have issued several service updates this week:
From 21 September the roadworks at Queen Street are affecting the city3/3A, city8/9 and city35 OBC services. Details of replacement stops can be found on the OBC website.
From 21 September the Thorncliffe Road bus stop in Summertown is closed until further notice. Services affected are the city2/2A/2B and park & ride 500. These services should now be accessed from the stops at Summertown shops or Lathbury Road.
George Street has now reopened following the temporary closure to expand restaurant seating. OBC have released an update to their timetables which can be found here, as some buses will be returning to their usual stops on George Street from the temporary locations on Beaumont Street.
Staff can access consolidated updates from OBC and all of their subsidiaries on the OBC website.
Stagecoach have issued one update this week in response to the roadworks on Queen Street. The E1 and E2 bus stops on Castle Street will be closed from 21 September, services should be accessed from Speedwell Street or the T2 stop on Turl Street.
City centre Bus Gates
In terms of the bus gates, more than 7,000 responses were made to the consultation (the most for a transport consultation exercise), 75% of those from people within Oxford or nearby settlements and around 5% from business/other organisations.
Details of the consultation can be found online.
The County has undertaken road modifications to improve various cycle and pedestrian traffic routes.
Full details of road modifications are available on the Oxfordshire County Council website.
We are beginning to receive feedback from staff who are travelling into the city via Botley Road that traffic congestion is becoming a problem at peak times. Phase 1 of the Botley Road roadworks started in July 2020 and are planned to continue throughout the coming academic year. Staff who use this route may wish to consider an alternative, or try to avoid peak hours where possible.
Details of the phase 1 plan for Botley Road can be found on the Oxfordshire County Council website.
Tranche 2 Emergency Active Travel Bid
The County has released a summary of their Tranche 2 bid to the Government's Emergency Active Travel Fund. In essence, they are seeking £4.5m (from an allocation of £2.3m) to:
- Deliver six 'Quickways' to improve cycling on main radials including Old Road/Warneford lane, Cowley Road/Oxford Road, Marston Road/St Clements, Woodstock Road, Banbury Road and Rose Hill/Iffley Road. One of these will link Thornhill P&R to Headington.
- Deliver six 'Quietways' to complement the main radials by improving cycling on minor quiet roads.
- The routes will be improved using a range of measures including bus gates, traffic filters (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods) and new cycle lanes (protected when possible). Complementary School Streets measures are also included. It is disappointing to note that no measures to increase segregation between cyclists and pedestrians are proposed.
- An LTN in Jericho using modal filters (road closures).
- An Additional two bus gates on Cowley Road and Old Road.
- A total of 687 additional parking spaces have been created to support staff returning to work. Of these 145 are at Old Road Campus, 200 are in central Oxford and the remainder are in more peripheral locations within 30 minutes (approx.) walk of central Oxford. This brings the total number of parking spaces to 1,332.
- Departments have a new parking allocation cap. This is by negotiation, but cannot exceed 46% of staff numbers returning to work (46% is the percentage of University staff who arrive by car or public transport).
- Any HR issues around allocation of parking spaces are dealt with by departments as usual.
- The existing advice on criteria for granting parking spaces is being extended to provide a COVID-19 category for vulnerable staff.
- The booking system for staff car parking is now in place.
- Departments are required to manage the allocation of spaces against their cap. They can allocate more permits than their cap, to allow for shift and staggered working. The booking system allows staff to request a permit for a specific day of the week, am or pm.
- Departments embedded within OUH sites are now able to access temporary parking support via the TPTP system.
- The reintroduction of a charge for parking will be reviewed during Michaelmas term. This is to deal with the inequity of staff who are travelling to work on public transport having to pay, whilst those allocated a permit are not charged. Any money raised is put into the Green Travel Fund to pay for improvements to cycle facilities etc.
- Any proposal for the reintroduction of peak-time parking charges will be brought back to the relevant groups and committees for discussion. It is anticipated that the charges will be levied as a percentage of salary and based on the number of days per week that the permit is used – as under the normal permit process.
- Travel information is being regularly updated and permit holders are receiving a weekly update on parking status every Friday.
- We are planning to bring the off peak leisure permit option back in Michaelmas term. This will allow staff to pay for a permit to use during evenings and weekends for leisure purposes. Staff who require off-peak access as part of their work routine will continue to be able to request this for free within the TPTP process.
- Take up of parking is starting to increase at the St Cross/Manor Road site, however the car park one mile away at Iffley Road Sports Centre is not being used. We are including this information in our communications and are reminding staff to consider that they may need to park slightly further afield and take a short walk or cycle ride to the science area.
- Secure park and pedal options are being finalised for Michaelmas term and have now expanded thanks to additional buy-in from departments who wish to support. Engineering Science and the Bodleian Libraries have agreed to open secure cycle parking at Osney to all staff, with Estates Services providing additional complementary parking on site for park & pedal. The Said Business School have also offered an additional 30 parking spaces at Egrove Park in Kennington, with the option of overnight cycle storage just outside the reception area.
- Cycle September promotions are being shared with all staff via Bulletin, the Travel website and our mailing lists next week.
- Our Communications team are supporting promotions via approved social media channels, including a Strava group which will be used to share details of safe cycling routes and group cycling activities.
- Instructor-led training sessions with Broken Spoke have unfortunately had to be cancelled this week due to a drop in participant numbers. Staff who are keen to cycle and would like to organise training can still do so by contacting the Travel team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.