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Another prizewinner

The second Late Night Shopping Competition winner is Ms H. Kopinska from Fawler who has won £35.00 in vouchers to spend at the participating shops who kindly sponsored the competition.

Jon Carpenter · Fri 19 Dec 2008, 14:35 · Link

Privatised Transport Gone Mad

Bus firms compete on subsidised route

Oxford Mail 2:32pm Tuesday 16th December 2008

By David Horne »

Two bus operators – one receiving £80,000 of public money – are now competing for passengers on the same Witney route.

The ‘bus wars’ between RH Transport, of Downs Road, Witney, and Worths, of Enstone, started on Monday.

'I just can’t see why they need two services'
Kizzy Thornton

Yesterday, two buses arrived within five minutes of each other at about 9am at Witney Market Square to pick up just one passenger.

And from December 27, both companies will switch to virtually the same timetables on the Witney to Charlbury and Chipping Norton route, taking in the villages of Finstock, Ramsden and Hailey.

The situation has arisen because the county council has switched its route subsidy of £80,000 a year from one operator to another. The new subsidised service, X9, is being run by RH Transport and started operating on Monday.

Worths, which previously had the subsidy, has decided that it will also continue to run buses on the route with its 69 service because it thinks it is still viable.

Passengers include students at the Witney campus of Abingdon and Witney College, as well as commuters.

RH declined to comment.

But Paul Worth, director of Worths, said: “Even though our bid for the renewal of the subsidy wasn’t successful, it’s a commercial decision to continue.

“We have knocked off the Chipping Norton end of the route on some of the services throughout the day because we don’t think it’s viable. But on peak services it has been standing room only.”

Since bus deregulation, there is nothing to stop firms competing on the same route.

The council awards subsidies on selected routes to keep important but commercially unviable services running.

The total county bus subsidy bill is £5m a year.

Council spokesman Paul Smith, said: “The awarding of the subsidy on this route was done through the normal tendering process.

“The operator cannot go above a maximum fare we set. They can charge less, only as long as it does not undercut an existing service.”

Worths charges £2.20 for a single from Witney to Charlbury. Under subsidy rules, RH can charge a maximum £2.60.

Neither operator, or the council, knew details about passenger numbers.

Kizzy Thornton, 32, was the sole passenger waiting for the 9am bus to Chipping Norton from Witney yesterday.

He said: “I use the Worths service fairly often and it’s been a good one.

”I just can’t see, though, why they need two services, it seems strange. What we need is a late service, around 11pm, and it looks like we’re now getting it, again from both of them.”

Igor Goldkind · Tue 16 Dec 2008, 16:22 · Link

Railway closure could be just two weeks

From the Oxford Mail:

Parts of the Cotswold Line will shut next summer for a long-awaited double tracking scheme.

The detailed work plan has not yet been finalised, but train operator First Great Western is giving out leaflets now, advising passengers of their expected timetable. They are advising rail users alternative bus transport will be laid on, coinciding with the school holidays, between July 18 and August 30.

But for Oxfordshire station commuters - including Charlbury through to Kingham - it could be as short as two weeks, according to the Cotswold Line Promotion Group. Chairman Derek Potter said: “We have had meetings with FGW and Network Rail and it’s possible that at the Charlbury and Hanborough end the blockade - or trains not running - will be down to just two weeks.”

Passengers to and from Oxford would board and get off trains at Hanborough and continue the rest of their journeys by bus.

The scheme involves the doubling of about five miles of track from just east of Charlbury to Ascott-under-Wychwood and another 15 miles between Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham. The latter is expected to require a lengthier period of “blockade” because of more extensive preliminary work in realigning the existing track, ballast, drainage and other work because of a section of underground tunnel.

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 12 Dec 2008, 10:16 · Link

Charlbury awarded Oxfordshire's Green Bauble Award

Shop this Christmas in Charlbury and reduce your carbon footprint.

As well as the shops, go to the Farmers' Market on Saturday 13th and the evening Market on Thursday 18th when the shops will also be open until 8pm.

Buying new decorations? Don't throw out the old ones, BRING them along to CAWAG's stall at the Farmers' Market for other people to TAKE AWAY (free).

The Charlbury Area Waste Action Group (CAWAG) nominated all the shops and market stalls in Charlbury for Oxfordshire County Council's Green Bauble Award for their contribution to reducing Charlbury's carbon emissions.

Colin Critch · Sun 7 Dec 2008, 14:13 · Link

Winner of the Late Night Shopping competition

Late Night Shopping Competition winner is Mr A. Whitehead
who has won £35.00 in vouchers to spend at the participating shops who kindly sponsored the competition.

Many thanks to all those who entered and don’t forget you have another chance to try your hand at the next late night shopping on Thursday 17th December, when Charlbury shops will again be staying open till 8pm and there will be festivities in Church Street. Entry forms can be picked up in the shops on the night.

Jon Carpenter · Fri 5 Dec 2008, 16:04 · Link

A brand new book of poems by Charlbury people

"Because We Never Said Goodbye" is the title of a second collection of verse by Charlbury residents present and past.

The first collection, published a couple of years ago, raised money for the Shorthampton Church repair fund. The new collection is raising money for the cricket club's pavilion appeal, and together with the proceeds from an event in the Memorial Hall on the evening of Friday February 27 -- a collection of readings from the book, music and who knows what else! -- we hope to raise at least £1000.

A total of 48 poets are represented with well over a hundred poems. They include a moving tribute to Vic Brackenbury and an amusing ode to the Charlbury Fish Van, among an extraordinarily diverse range of poems. Some are plain funny, others very serious indeed. It's a wonderful collection for everyone who knows and loves the town, compiled and edited by Rob Stepney. And the cover is taken from a superb painting done specially for the book by local artist Mick Rooney RA.

Several of your Christmas present problems are suddenly solved!

Copies may be bought from Evenlode Books, price £9.99.

Jon Carpenter · Fri 5 Dec 2008, 13:21 · Link

New Bus Timetables for Charlbury services

As many of you will be aware, there has been some revision to our local bus services, including the Railbus. Oxfordshire County Council has now issued a pamphlet with full details of all these changes. Unfortunately it was not delivered in time to go out with the Charlbury Chronicle, so we are hoping to be able to deliver this to all Charlbury residents in tandem with delivery of The Leaflet, thanks to Leah Fowler and her kind assistants.
Although this will not be til later in January, the new services start on December 15th, and there will, by next week, be copies available in The library, the Post Office, the Co-op, Londis and the four pubs.
The County Council Transport Department has asked all Parish Transport Representatives to report back to them with the views and needs of bus users, so if you have any comments, please feel free to contact me on 01608 810914 or e.mail me:

Helen Bessemer-Clark, Charlbury Town Council PTR

Helen Bessemer-Clark · Fri 5 Dec 2008, 09:14 · Link

Street Fair date updates

Just to let you all know that the date for Open Gardens will be on Sunday 7th June, so if you are interested in opening your garden this year, please contact Vic Allison on

And further to the information in the Chronicle, we raised £14,000 with your help and the first meeting to organise next year's Street Fair will be held on Monday, 9th February at 8pm in the Garden Room, and not in January as previously stated.

Susie Finch · Thu 4 Dec 2008, 09:12 · Link

Andrew Haines to leave FGW

The First Great Western website has announced today that Andrew Haines, currently Managing Director Rail Division and Chief Operating Officer, is to leave the Company. There is no indication as yet regarding who will replace Andrew. The full story can be obtained here:

Derek Collett · Wed 3 Dec 2008, 21:45 · Link

Father Christmas comes to Charlbury on Thurs 4th December!

Bring your children along to see Father Christmas in his magical Santa's Grotto at at The Bell, 6-8pm.
£1 per visit (includes a gift)

Megan Bell · Mon 1 Dec 2008, 13:04 · Link

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