Bus Users UK has challenged a decision by Oxford County Council to extend a ban on buses from Queen Street in the heart of the city.
In a letter to Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, and Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport (DfT), the organisation raised concerns that the ban would make journey times longer, adding 149,000 unnecessary miles to bus routes and creating pollution and congestion elsewhere.
Claire Walters, CEO of Bus Users UK, said: “What particularly concerns us is that bus passengers will be paying more, as operators seek to recover some of their costs on journeys that will actually be taking longer. This will put people off using the bus and encourage those who can drive to use their cars, which will simply add to the congestion and pollution already being created.”
Bus Users also raised concerns that Oxford County Council ignored the results of its own consultation, which found that only 33% of residents supported the ban on buses while 48% were against it, and that without an Equalities Impact Survey the decision could be open to judicial review.
Claire commented: “There is no evidence whatsoever to support this decision and we are urging Oxford County Council to overturn the ban.”
Simon Posner, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “Local bus services are by far the most used form of public transport and are quite simply a lifeline for millions of people allowing access to education, work, training, leisure and every day activities such as shopping and visiting friends and family. They also help retain mobility and reduce social exclusion.
“Anything which makes bus travel less attractive, and which deters passengers from using local services, will increase congestion and be detrimental to the local environment.”