Please see below communication between Cllr Malcolm Patterson and Stagecoach re the 200 bus service:
‘Dear Mr Harrison
Stagecoach 200 Bus Service between Banbury & Daventry and stopping in Wardington/Williamscot
As you are no doubt aware Stagecoach announced the closure of this hourly service in February.
There was a stay of execution until August to allow for consultations. This extension was funded by Northants CC and Oxfordshire CC.
A further postponement until January 2023 has been agreed. We understand this is being funded solely by West Northants Unitary Authority.
While most of the route is in Northamptonshire, we in this corner of Oxfordshire benefit enormously from it.
Banbury also benefits. The people of West Northamptonshire are able to use public transport to come to the town for work, shopping, education, onward travel and the other services a growing Banbury provides.
The 200 Bus Service is a perfect match with the national policy of reducing the need to travel by car.
The use of the bus through Wardington has increased since closure was threatened.
It is particularly critical for:
- People working in Wardington at the Wardington House Nursing Home, Barn Farm Plants, Tuthill Porsche
- People living in Wardington and working in Banbury
- Allowing those without cars to visit Banbury at a time of their choosing
- Many people who are catching a train or a coach for onward travel
- Students at school or college in Banbury
- Elderly people whose mental health and wellbeing are enhanced in a major way by getting out of the house on a regular basis
It will not continue beyond January without further Local Authority funding. Part of this will have to come from Oxfordshire.
Please raise this matter at the highest level
Chair Wardington Parish Council’
‘Dear Mr Patterson
Thank you for your email.
Oxfordshire and West Northamptonshire councils have been in discussions over the future of this service since Stagecoach announced their intention to withdraw it in February 2022. However, neither council has sufficient guaranteed funds to ensure its long term continuation.
Ultimately, sufficient numbers of people need to use the bus for it to survive. Use from Wardington at the time cancellation was announced was in the order of one or two per day on average, although I do not have more recent figures to hand. The route mostly serves West Northamptonshire residents although as you say Banbury benefits economically from this as the majority of travel is to here rather than Daventry.
We have secured one-off funding to maintain previously commercial services up to August 2024. It is our current intention to utilise some of this on service 200 if we can, however the next six months will be crucial to see what else may need to be supported – clearly, there is a possibility that if a number of other routes wholly within Oxfordshire are withdrawn there may be more limited scope to do so. You may see in the near future that we intend to utilise some of these funds to support reinstatement of Sunday services on route 500 to/from Brackley, but these are inexpensive compared to all day, six days per week services such as the 200.
In summary therefore we are working with our colleagues at West Northamptonshire with a view to securing this service until August 2024, but this is not yet guaranteed and is subject to available budget. Patronage will need to increase significantly during this period to ensure its continuation beyond this date.
I hope that provides some reassurance on the council’s position regarding this matter.
Principal Public Transport Planner
Environment and Place
Oxfordshire County Council | County Hall | Oxford | OX1 1ND’