|Interchangeable tickets are available across operators|
In Oxford, I could not help but notice the sheer amount of Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company services heading to a place known as Blackbird Ley. What I soon picked up on is that Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company have cleverly (and intentionally) timetabled their competing services to give an even headway between buses. This results in an impressive 4-5 minute combined frequency, the times for which are shown in eachother's timetables.
This links to the 'Oxford Smart Zone' smart ticketing system. Passengers can purchase these as a day pass from the driver, a week pass online, from the travel shop or from the driver and longer terms online or at travel shops. Tickets work as unlimited passes, rather than per journey like London's Oyster. Although fore-fronted by Oxford Bus Company, Smart Zone passes can be accepted on Stagecoach and Thames Travel services. For services to Blackbird Ley, as above, passengers with a Smart Zone ticket can use either of the competing services.
|A Stagecoach hybrid Alexander Dennis Enviro400|
The Oxford Low Emission Zone sets the standard that all local buses operating in Oxford City Centre must be of Euro 5 emission standard or greater.
Oxford Bus Company operate a specific network of services for Oxford Brookes University, which goes under the BrookesBus brand. All services are free to most Brookes students and staff, and are still available for use by the general public. Fares, like on the rest of the network, are very reasonable too. A journey on a standard Oxford Bus Company journey of around twenty minutes cost just ninety pence - a similar journey in Norwich would cost almost double that.
|Free wifi is on all Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company buses|
Oxford is clearly a centre of innovation and something for other operators to look up to. The healthy and useful competition and smart turn out of the modern fleets must have a correlation to the number of people using buses, which from observation is simply astonishing. I must pay another visit to Oxford, and is now on my list of places to follow happenings from.