|Woodstock and Bladon News,|
An issue which makes a subtle mark on the front cover is the current competition for bus passengers in Woodstock. This is not as major a conflict as the series of intermittent commercial skirmishes between the Oxford Bus Company (since 1994 part of Go-Ahead) and Thames Transit (since 1997 owned by Stagecoach and trading under local variants of its parent company's name) which lasted between 1987 and the establishment of joint ticketing on major city routes under the Oxford Bus Partnership in 2011. Nevertheless, the decision of Oxford Bus Company to extend their Park and Ride 500 service (which never seemed to me as well-supported as their other Park and Ride routes) north from Oxford Parkway railway station through Kidlington and Yarnton, and the response by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, who for several years have had a monopoly on Woodstock to Oxford bus transport on a lone route via Begbroke and Yarnton, to defend it by launching their own route 7 largely duplicating the extended 500 route, risked disruption. As the cover shows, Oxford Bus Company have chosen to turn their buses around at the Town Hall rather than proceed further north to the quieter and less congested Vermont Drive; this has caused traffic problems, including issues with disabled drivers parking in extremis on yellow lines at times when there is no on-street parking available, as is the case for much of the day. The 7 timetable shadows the 500 closely and the two buses often reach the Marlborough Arms stop at the same time.
|Oxford Bus Company Park and Ride 500|
behind Stagecoach in Oxfordshire Gold 7,
outside the Marlborough Arms, Oxford Street, Woodstock,
pictured by Matthew Kilburn on 6 February 2017