MP for Thame promotes community bus service for isolated areas

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Thame’s MP is contacting parish councils to help improve transport facilities for isolated areas.

John Howell MP for the Henley Constituency, is promoting Oxfordshire County Council’s Comet Service.

He has written to parish councils in the constituency to highlight the service and to give an example of how well the service is working for one village – Dorchester on Thames – about a year on from when it first started.

The service provides bus transport for local residents without access to suitable bus services. Concerns around the cuts to local bus services are often raised by constituents and he has raised them with the county council under whose remit this falls.

Mr Howell said: “This is a very good example of the county Council running services in a different way to the past and which is something I have been asking for. It takes buses that normally take children to school and adults to day care centres and makes them available to communities without access to bus services.”

The service has been in operation in Dorchester on Thames for just over a year, courtesy of the parish council, and known locally as the Dorchester Flyer. It does not impose significantly on the local council tax but does provide one day a week the opportunity for local people to go shopping in nearby Wallingford. Costs are kept low for passengers as the buses simply have to cover running costs. It is a good approximation to the uber-type service of buses on demand for which Mr Howell has been calling.

He added: “I am well aware of concerns around the cuts to local services and appreciate the issues around social isolation. The Oxfordshire Comet service seems to be an excellent opportunity for people who simply want to make a journey to go to the shops or to meet friends. I would be pleased to learn of examples where the Comet is working in the constituency so that I can advise residents who raise this with me.”

Parish Councils which wish to avail themselves of this service and help provide a valuable addition to the village are advised to contact, in the first instance, their county councillor or go to