Chiltern have now published their proposed timetable (here).
A number of issues arise, following this and the Passenger Board meeting on the afternoon of the 12th September, which I attended.
At least one more CRPB meeting will take place to address fares, cycle carriage, parking and parking charges. (We may have to accept an end to free parking to avoid exploitation by people seeking to avoid charges elsewhere. Parking charges at Oxford Parkway must also harmonise with those for Park & Ride.) OBRAG has also asked for a meeting to discuss all aspects of service at Islip and Bicester.
First, here are some significant dates :
- June 2015 : publication of final timetable
- September 2015 : service opens to Oxford Parkway
- March 2016 : service scheduled to open into Oxford
- 7th Nov 2014 : end of consultation regarding the proposed timetable.
The bus service will operate only from Water Eaton (Oxford Parkway), once service commences there. I have been reassured that there will be dedicated buses, timed to arrivals and departures, though the option remains to use the wide variety of other bus services to be found there.
Timing between Bicester Town and Oxford :
- BT to ISL : 6mins
- ISL to OPW : 4mins
- OPW to OXF : 5 or 6mins.
The proposed timetable only runs as far as Oxford Parkway (OPW), and allows a little extra time, which is only required while OPW acts a s a terminus.
The service between Bicester Town and Oxford seems enough to answer all dreams (roughly every half-hour), never mind necessities EXCEPT for two things :
- the earliest arrival in OXF is 07.24, which may not be enough for some
- there is no effective return train for people who finish work in Oxford at 17.30, as I suspect most do.
The latter is a concern for anyone commuting to Oxford from ANY origin (Islip, Bicester, High Wycombe or London). The nearest possibilities are 17.39 (too early) and 18.22 (too late). I have asked CR to address this somehow. (Timetables are extremely complex, meaning anything which relieves one problem causes several more.)
However, the main concern has to be Islip, which has now :
- suffered a loss of three trains per day (from 11 down to 8tpd) weekdays
- a proposed timetable which serves no useful purpose, not even commuting into Oxford.
Chiltern have scheduled only 7tpd in their timetable, which is the minimum now required in their franchise. (The reduction from 11tpd was subject to no consultation or even notice.) I have asked CR to reinstate the eighth train and honour their promise made at the TWA Inquiry, and privately to the OBRAG Cttee.
Please refer to my previous post, where I gave one possible analysis of what purposes the people of Islip (and the surrounding villages) had previously enjoyed, and might reasonably expect to enjoy :
- A : commuting to Oxford
- B : evening commuting and evening entertainment (evening class, meal out etc.)
- C : commuting beyond Oxford (Swindon, Abingdon, Reading etc.)
- D : commuting to High Wycombe and London.
There is no point in attempting to achieve a regular service (with equal intervals) with such a small number of trains. Each train must serve some identifiable purpose (and thus market).
There follows a summary of their proposed timetable for Islip (by arrival/departure time at Oxford) with a brief appraisal of each train :
arr OXF from ISL :
- 08.23 : A 9am start in OXF
- 09.44 : A 10am start in OXF (shopping. business trips etc.; reduces break)
- 12.14 : no purpose served
- 16.14 : no purpose served
- 17.26 : no purpose served
- 19.01 : D 5.30/6pm finish in HW
- 21.14 : no purpose served
dep. OXF for ISL :
- 05.34 : no purpose served
- 07.44 : D 9am start in HW
- 08.41 : no purpose served
- 13.09 : no purpose served (too early for commuting)
- 15.09 : no purpose served
- 17.39 : no purpose served (too early for 17.30 finish)
- 21.46 : no purpose served (too late for evening class/work; too early for theatre)
I have asked that the following changes be made :
- remove all trains which serve no purpose
- in exchange (and to restore 8tpd) add a stop at ISL for the following trains :
Arriving at OXF :
- 07.24 : 8/8.30am start in Oxf; commuting beyond Oxf
- 13.38 : 2pm start in Oxf (plus afternoon shopping etc.)
- 16.38 : HW 3.30/4pm finish (schools)
- 19.58 : 6/6.30pm finish in London
- 22.38 : late return from HW/London
Departing from OXF :
- 07.19 : 9am start in London
- 13.42 : 1pm finish in Oxf
- 16.42 : 4pm finish (schools, shopping)
- 17.45-18.00 needed for 5.30 finish in Oxf; nothing on timetable
- 18.42 : 6.30pm finish in Oxf; commutng beyond Oxf
- 21.12 : 9pm finish in Oxf
- 22.16 : 10pm finish in Oxf
I have yet to take a look at the proposal for weekend service.
I may sound critical, but I am aware of what it might mean to us to have the new stations and destinations.
We would be very grateful for your observations and comments, and will include them in our negotiation with Chiltern. (It is quite likely they keep an eye on our site, but remember they have many stations and many, many customers to satisfy.)
Sorry for the long post, but I think we all agree this is important, to all of us.