Thames Travel has launched a new off-peak service between Didcot town centre and the southern neighbourhood of Great Western Park. The new Connector 97 service operates Monday to Friday with buses running hourly, connecting Great Western Park to Didcot town centre. Additionally, the Connector 98 service from Didcot Parkway to the Great Western Park northern neighbourhood has been extended off-peak to serve the southern neighbourhood every hour.
Thames Travel services to the northern section of Great Western Park are on track to complete 220,000 passenger journeys annually on current routes, a ten-fold increase in the past five years.
The operator points out that the results buck a trend reported by the Transport for New Homes Association that new developments like Great Western Park force residents to become car-dependant due to a lack of sustainable transport alternatives.
“As a result of the positive uptake of our Connector services at Great Western Park we have been continuing to work with Taylor Wimpey to ensure we continue to tailor our service provision to the development expansion where possible,” says Phil Southall, Thames Travel managing director. “This joined up approach helps ensure transport is fit for purpose for new housing developments and prevents new residents from becoming trapped in car dependency.
“The southern section of Great Western Park is being developed quicker than initially expected and once the infrastructure was in place to allow access for buses, we increased our services accordingly. We expect Oxfordshire County Council to issue a developer-funded tender to provide all-day buses to the southern neighbourhood in the future. In the meantime, we are doing what we can with the resources we have to provide an off-peak service between the southern neighbourhood and Didcot town centre and station.”
Thames Travel employs about 110 staff and serves south Oxfordshire and Berkshire, carrying 2.5 million passengers per year.