Schoolgirls fight to restore axed bus services

11:30am Tuesday 15th April 2014

A TRIO of teens have launched a campaign to get bus services back between Long Wittenham and Didcot.

The pupils from Didcot Girls’ School in Manor Crescent, want the Thames Travel 97 bus to run more often after hearing friends and elderly people in the village are stranded.

Campaigns by school students in citizenship projects have been successful in the past. So Holly Smith, 15, from Abingdon, Alex Walker, 15, from Didcot, and Daisy Westhead, 14, from Didcot also hope to get results.

From December 8 the bus service was cut from four return services a day to one.

Long Wittenham residents wanting to shop in town have to get the 10.34am bus and return on the 1.49pm.

Holly said: “They are not frequent enough. There are only two services during the whole day.”

Daisy added: “People in the villages are being let down by the bus services.”

The three girls emailed Thames Travel with questions.

Its spokesman Phil Ashworth declined to comment as he said the service is contracted by Oxfordshire County Council.

Long Wittenham parish council chairman Tom Bowtell said he was delighted to hear of the campaign.

He has invited the girls to talk to the parish council on June 5.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “There never was a specific service under this Thames Travel contract from Long Wittenham to Didcot specifically catered for Didcot Girls’ School pupils.

“However White's Coaches do operate a commercial service to transport pupils in Long Wittenham to and from school.

“Discussions are on-going about the possibility for a third return trip into Didcot on the Thames Travel contract and a decision about this will be made in due course.”

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