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Abingdon struck by bus cuts

Abingdon’s most vulnerable will be those hit hardest by cuts to 11 town bus services, leaders have warned.

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) approved cuts to the town’s 11 subsidised bus services last week; the 41, 42, two 43 services, the 44, 44A, 46, 114, T2, X15 and X2.

Three of them serve north Abingdon and the rest travel through villages including Sunningwell, Drayton, Berinsfield, and to towns including Witney, Wallingford, Didcot and Oxford.

Abingdon’s 11 are among the 118 Oxfordshire routes impacted by the move, aiming to save £7.5 million from the council’s budget due to central Government funding cuts.

It could mean the bus operators drop the services altogether, or risk running them at a financial loss.

OCC councillor for Abingdon South, Neil Fawcett, said: “The town bus services for Abingdon will be likely to go. They’re heavily subsidised, and I think there will also be some of the services that link Abingdon to local villages affected.

“The county council claims to want to see people using public transport instead of cars but their decisions seems to say the opposite.

“The bus services are quite well used. It’s typically older people using it who don’t have access to their own transport.”

The decision was made by OCC’s cabinet at the council offices in New Road and could see all subsidies to bus services cut by June 2016.

OCC currently pays £3.7m each year to the county’s bus operators to support low use bus routes and the cuts form part of the council’s attempts to cut £290m by 2018.

OCC cabinet member for transport, David Nimmo Smith said: “As a county council we are faced wit h very difficult choices.

“It is really important to understand that more than 90 per cent of bus services in Oxfordshire would be unaffected by these proposals.”

Mayor of Abingdon Helen Pighills said: “They’re saying the service providers could keep them going but its not going to happen.

“It’s going to affect the people that most need it.

“We should be encouraging people to use the buses.

“It means more people in cars.  It affects the people who are most vulnerable.”

Spokesperson for Thames Travel, Phil Ashworth, said: “The list of services ‘impacted’ by the county council cuts may have given the impression that the X2 service from Abingdon to Oxford, Didcot and Wantage was one of the services likely to  be cut in its entirety.

“We would like to reassure our customers that this isn’t the case.

“Most of the X2 service is run  commercially by Thames Travel.

“There is a very small subsidy  from Oxfordshire County Council that supports some but not all evening services.

“We are still reviewing what impact there will be on this and other Thames Travel services affected by the council’s spending plans.”

The decision will now go to full council as part of the budget setting process in early 2016.

Table of Abingdon bus services impacted:

Thames Travel

41

North Abingdon Town Service

Thames Travel

42

North Abingdon Town Service

Thames Travel

43

North Abingdon Town Service

Oxfordshire County Council

43

Abingdon Town Centre – Eaton

Thames Travel

44

Oxford – Bayworth – Sunningwell-Abingdon

Thames Travel

44A

Oxford- Abingdon

Oxfordshire County Council

46

Drayton St Leonard –            Abingdon

Thames Travel

114

Wallingford – Abingdon

Thames Travel

T2

Oxford – Science Park – Berinsfield – Abingdon

Stagecoach Oxfordshire

X15

Abingdon – Witney

Thames Travel

X2

Oxford – Abingdon – Milton Park – Didcot

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