Thames Travel, The University of Oxford and the Science & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) have celebrated the formal launch of the new Science Transit Shuttle service connecting key sites in Oxford and Harwell Campus.
Managing Director Phil Southall, Finance and Commercial Director Luke Marion were joined by Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Dr David Prout, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) from the University of Oxford and Mark Burrows, Harwell Campus Development Manager and Liz Kitchener, Head of Estates, from the STFC based at Harwell. The group formally cut a ribbon on the new Connector branded Thames Travel Science Transit Shuttle bus to mark the new service.
Thames Travel was awarded a three-year contract by the University of Oxford to operate the Science Transit Shuttle service from 15 July 2019 to connect key sites in Oxford and to connect Oxford and Harwell.
The company invested £1M in a new fleet of six ultra-low emission (Euro VI) vehicles to connect Oxford with Harwell Campus, and connect the University’s Science area with JR Hospital, Old Road Campus and the Wytham JK Field Station. The express service between Oxford and Harwell facilitates collaboration in research and enables the University to access the cutting-edge scientific infrastructure at Harwell including Europe’s largest synchrotron.
The Science Transit Shuttle continues to be part subsidised by the University of Oxford and the STFC.
Phil Southall, Thames Travel Managing Director, said: “Our new Science Transit Shuttle Connector services connects Oxford with key employment sites and forms part of our continued investment in supporting the economic growth of the county.
“It is proving to be popular and demonstrates what can be achieved when key stakeholders work together on shared objectives. This vital new service would not have been possible without the support of our partners and it has been a pleasure to welcome them onto the new service and to formally launch it together in partnership.”
Prof. Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research, University of Oxford said: “Our cutting-edge research in physical and life sciences requires access to state-of-the-art facilities and collaborations with centres of expertise around the world. The Science Transit Shuttle pilot showed that strong transport connections supported interactions between the University and organisations at Harwell. Establishing this route as a public service, providing a fast and frequent connection between the campuses as part of the wider regional network, will continue to improve the ability for commercial connections and innovation opportunities to flourish from these innovation centres.”
The ST1 Connector service provides a fast route between Broad Street, the University Science Area and Harwell Campus every 30 minutes between 6.40am and 7pm Monday to Friday.
The ST2 Connector service operates between the John Radcliffe Hospital, Old Road Campus, University Science Area, Oxford rail station, Seacourt Park & Ride and Wytham between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday.
Thames Travel’s fleet of buses are low emission vehicles and it is the third largest bus operator in Oxfordshire. It serves South Oxfordshire and into Berkshire, carrying 2.9M passengers per year. Earlier this year Thames Travel moved its depot to Didcot as part of its investment into the area and its fleet, infrastructure and people.
The Oxford Bus Company has kept the people of Oxford moving since 1881. Our services now span the width and breadth of Oxford and also take passengers to London, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. In addition, our City Sightseeing Oxford hop-on, hop-off open topped bus company provides enjoyable tours of Oxford. And our sister companies, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses provide convenient travel services across South Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire respectively.