Report from Village Plan Transport group

The Oxton Village Plan originally created a community group to discuss the issues of Traffic, The Oxton Flyer, Transport and Crime & Security

Traffic issues are now dealt with by the Oxton Parish Council.

Crime and Security issues are dealt with by Ian Kilpatrick who is the representative on the Oxton Parish Council. There is a system called ‘Ringmaster’ which sends brief information of relevant local crime issues to Ian by email; Ian then forwards the reports on to anyone in the village who has given their email address to him.

The Oxton Flyer has now stopped as the number of people wishing to use it had gradually decreased and was no longer viable. Many thanks to Margaret Cooper and others for providing a very useful service over the years.

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The Transport subgroup has been examining all public transport services to/from Oxton, for about 12 months, after the results of The Oxton Village Plan Questionnaire of 2011 were published. It has had six regular members, including one Parish Councillor, with other residents making appearances. While looking at who wants to travel, to/from where and when, we have not looked at neighbourhood car-sharing schemes for vulnerable people, some of which appear to be privately arranged. There seems to be no sense in interfering with provision that currently works.

There is also a new scheme “Lifts-4-locals” about to be launched, and recently advertised in the November 2012 Dover Beck. This is aiming to provide a list of people who are willing to help improve the availability of transport for those who are in need of such help. If you would be willing to volunteer lifts for people in the village, either for a regular journey you make or on an ad hoc or emergency basis, or if you need a lift, please contact Joan Arnold on 9653789 or by email at trebleclef.arnold@btinternet.com.

The subgroup has noticed a change in local authority planning and provision for rural community transport, but resulting changes have not yet affected Oxton which continues to be served by a County Council sponsored NottsBus Service 5, currently provided by Premiere Travel Ltd.

It is difficult to capture statistical data about service quality without costly surveys, and so a village appeal is to be launched to ask inconvenienced bus travellers to report their experiences. Recently, travel problems reported by two residents were responded to, promptly, by Premiere Travel, but not by The County Council.
Where any opportunity is spotted to put forward the case for improvements, the subgroup does this. We know that residents primarily want to travel to Calverton, to connect with The Trentbarton Calverton Connection service, and also to use necessary facilities in Calverton, including The GP, Pharmacy and Public Library. The second choice would be a service to/from Southwell.

The current NottsBus Service 5 costs £3 (one way) for a 60 minute journey to Queen Street Main Post Office, Nottingham. The Operator has stated that congestion along the route has put too much pressure on the timetable, and changes are expected to improve timing reliability, but they would not be drawn on any deviation to Calverton. Improved connections to Nottingham can be made by switching buses at Lowdham or Burton Joyce, onto the Nottingham City Transport (Pathfinder) Service 100, which is preferred along that route, but there are no joint ticketing arrangements.

The Service 5 leaves Oxton approximately hourly, but there are no evening or Sunday services, denying social use for the increasing number of teenagers who live in the village. They cannot get to friends, and friends cannot get here.
The Calverton Connection Service CC operates every 15 minutes, and then spends 15 minutes touring Calverton picking up only a handful of passengers. Trentbarton rejected the idea of hourly extensions to Oxton, or even Southwell. Current access to Southwell has to be via Lowdham.

Trent Barton do provide two buses in the early morning outbound to Nottingham, and one inbound at the end of working hours. A further Premiere Travel bus (No 7) drives through the village in the evening, on its way to Epperstone from Calverton (and beyond) and then retraces its route 10 minutes later; this service is timetabled to get you to Nottingham at 1929 hours; but you then have to use the Calverton Connection on return and walk from Calverton or request a lift.

All services seem to offer a “request only” facility when approaching Calverton or Oxton from Nottingham at the end of the day. If you don’t ask for this on boarding, you will not be taken to your destination. Youngsters have stories of arguments with drivers, and vulnerable passengers are not specifically asked about this when they board. Understandably, drivers often plan to terminate services as early as possible, and such requests are never popular with the drivers. It should therefore be mandatory for drivers to ask each passenger if they wish to travel to a destination designated a “request journey”, which Oxton always is. Disagreements, no matter how amiable, can often lead to alternative provision thereby causing a self-defeating outcome.

With the demise of the current need for the Oxton Flyer, Oxton’s public transport requirements increasingly reflect the needs of young people below driving age and a small number of commuters. There is absolutely no demonstration of any service which might tempt car users. Christmas revelries are upon us. How can you get to Nottingham and back safely in the evening and not drink alcohol? If only we could get those people safely and reliably to/from Calverton, seven days a week, to connect with an award winning service with buses leaving for Nottingham four times an hour. So near but yet so far.

The minutes of the first four meetings held since the launch of the Village Plan are now available on the website. We have plans after Christmas to try to find out what sort of service any villagers would like to use on a regular basis. If you have any suggestions, comments or reports of problems with the current service, please contact Lynda or Paul Hallett 0115 9653531 or email on l_e_hallam@hotmail.com

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