How to....Travel in Oxfordshire This is the first in a series of ‘how to’ articles on the Climate X website. The aim of these is to share the useful information that we all need to act on our motivation to 'live lightly', transforming the frustration that it is hard to do so! We’d really like you to contribute to these guides. For the moment, you can best help by emailing suggested information and improvements, and sharing your stories of overcoming obstacles, to email@example.com which will then be used to update this article. The areas Highighted by underlining are where we would particularly welcome help!
HOW TO GUIDES No. 1: A TRAVEL GUIDE for OXFORDSHIRE.. and beyond
This guide is a work in progress. We'd love to receive your suggestions to make it truly useful- a great car sharing scheme, a little known bus service, a rural rickshaw...- do let us know: contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01865 275 856.
STOP PRESS!!! Begin or renew your commitment to sustainable travel by participating with this campaign, by Sustrans... in the week 1st-7th July 2007 swap one of your regular journeys with a lower-impact form of travel. See the Sustrans site for more info.
ESSENTIAL NUMBERS & INFO FOR STARTERS: recommended numbers & websites
THE GUIDE: BY AREA, BY TRANSPORT TYPE
Please scroll down to the AREA you are travelling to or from. (Links to be added shortly)
Each area lists information for different types of transport. See our Appendix- 'Choosing low-impact transport- without a single calculation!'
1. OXFORDSHIRE: county
a. BUSES in Oxfordshire
Bus travel is complicated by the fact that there are many bus companies....however....legislation requires all bus operators to provide details of departure times at ALL bus stops, provide guides to bus travel, and info. points in town centres. Oxfordshire County Council is developing a 'Premium routes network' that aims to link up services between different operators.
b. TRAIN TRAVEL within and beyond Oxfordshire
There are four Train operators in Oxfordshire. Details are given below. A map of cross-country train routes showing Oxford's rail links can also be downloaded as a pdf.
Also visit the National Rail Enquiries site or ring 08457 48 49 50.
There are over 5 National Cycle Routes passing through Oxfordshire. Look at descriptions of these routes, and download or request by phone maps, on the Sustrans Cycling in Oxfordshire pages. There are also suggestions for Day Rides from Oxfordshire which may well cover routes to and from your everyday destinations.
d. CAR TRAVEL
If you have to travel by Car, consider your impact and following a few simple techniques to reduce your fuel consumption (and expenditure). See the Eco-driving site for some tips. Most importantly, remember how dramatically fuel consumption increases above the (approx) 60mph mark- think 'I drive at 65!'.
Car sharing schemes are a good option to make a big difference to traffic and carbon emission impacts. WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU IF YOU KNOW OF GOOD CAR SHARING SCHEMES IN OXFORDSHIRE!!
See http://www.carshare.com/ for some inspiration from others around the UK- although there are few schemes listed here for Oxfordshire!
e. ON FOOT/RUNNING
Oxfordshire is a beautiful county, with many different landscape types to explore. To see the range of landscapes that Oxfordshire covers, we recommend the excellent website of the Oxfordshire Wildlife & Landscape Study
To better explore by foot, it is essential to have a good map. It is probably best to go and buy an Ordnance Survey Map, from any bookshop or garage, but you can also look at these maps online, and print them off (for your personal use only).
There are long distance paths throughout Oxfordshire that would once have been highways, busy with peoples. They can be a wonderful and most relaxing pilgrimage through beautiful countryside- although unlikely to be a viable alternative for many daily commutes..The D'arcy Dalton Way, The Oxfordshire Way, and The Wychwood Way are three such routes, rich in history. Download guides & maps at the County Council.
2. OXFORD CITY
See the Daily Info Travel Guide for details of travel in Oxford, including car hire, useful if you choose not to own a car.
a. BUSES in Oxford City
Comprehensive and clear guide to buses in Oxford City, where you can also buy tickets. Covers Oxford City buses and also the oxford Espress service to London, and Airline service to Gatwick and Heathrow.
b. CYCLING, and BEING CYCLED!
Oxon Carts is a fun way to get around the city centre! Pedicab Service Ring 07747 024600 to book. 5 pedicabs available. Sample fare: Tesco's in Cowley to Carfax- £7. Can also deliver sandwiches etc. to offices/businesses.
Oxford Cycle Workshop offers much more than excellent bike repair services- it is also a hub of cycling activity, including campaigning with monthly bike rides through the city centre. Their repair shop is located on 39 Magdalen Road Oxford OX4 1RB Phone: 01865 204 799, where they also sell second-hand bikes. See the site for more info, opening times and articles.
Summertown Cycles 01865 316885, located on the other side of the city at 202 Banbury Road, OX2 7BY also offers a good bike repair service and 2nd hand bikes, and also is concerned with promoting cycling within Oxford. (Recommendation by J Pendlenton)
Cyclox is the campaign for cycling in Oxford. Among many other initiatives, they gather at the Cornmarket end of Broad Street outside The Oxford Story from 5.45 pm on the last Friday of every month, aiming to build a 'critical mass' movement.. More details..
Perhaps a possibility if your commute is less than 5 miles and you have a shower at work....!
Try joining a running club to familiarise yourself with routes around Oxford for running and walking. Headington Road Runners have details of routes on their website, with distances, maps etc.
3. CHERWELL VALLEY
a) BY BUS.... AND CANAL BOAT!
4. WEST OXFORDSHIRE (incl. COTSWOLDS)
5. SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE DISTRICT
A general guide to travelling around South Oxfordshire from the District Council. Includes a taxibus service between Watlington, Lewknor and Stokenchurch with timetable.
6. VALE OF THE WHITE HORSE
7. FURTHER AFIELD
Find out about how to travel further afield without using a plane, from the man in seat sixty-one: http://www.seat61.com/
Appendix- 'Choosing low-impact transport- without a single calculation!'
While it may be interesting to calculate your carbon footprint, sometimes all those kilogrammes and conversions may seem a bit much... Common sense can help us to realise the lowest impact we can have without having to remember how to divide by a decimal. Here is a guide to choosing the lowest carbon intensity travel option.
If you'd still like some facts and figures to judge your impact, we can recommend this calculator from 'travel direct', a journey planner website. Very simple, just enter the mileage for your journey
Lowest impact- highest impact
Walking & running is using our own energy as fuel. Calories rather than petrol.
Cycling, although involving a manufactured bicycle, again uses our own fuel to propel us through the 4 dimensions. A Second hand bike is even better!
Buses can carry many people in a specially designed metal oblong. They (on the whole) were going anyway (although this argument should not be used to support plane journeys, which have a much greater impact!) and many services, particularly in rural areas, need support in order to keep them viable.
Trains can carry even more people, but they go faster than buses so generally the energy use per person may be higher- it depends on the speed of the train and how well used it is. As for buses, you can be assured that the train was going anyway, and that trains stick to railway lines which are not generally being expanded, and indeed could probably used to greater capacity (many old railway lines were taken up in the 20th century, removing a great link between towns and villages that now is made by use of many cars.)
Cars- are definitely not going already, without your consent! Although the efficieny of cars varies considerably, and can be quite good, the fact is that by driving, we are controbuting additional pollution to the atmosphere that would not have occurred if we had used something that was 'going already', and in general involved sharing with other human beings! We also have to remember that climate change is not the only environmental story. Noise pollution is a serious threat to our well being, and is destroying the peace and tranquillity of our countryside in such a way that it renders some parts of our countryside 'unenjoyable'. Roads are also in direct opposition to the preservation of wildlife habitat- biodiversity does not survive in tarmac.
Driving is sometimes unavoidable however. If you are driving, and have explored all the other options, then just follow these eco driving techniques.... Also remember that whatever weight you have in your car, requires energy to move it. So clearing out your boot has a double benefit of making one feel tidy & also reducing fuel consumption.
Planes... can't be an ecologically great way of travelling, but are better if they are the most efficient models. (Easyjet claim that they use the latest and most efficient models). Also it would seem to make sense to fly economy (and take up less room)... ! Using A low-cost airline might mean you could spend your money better on making ecological improvements to your life elsewhere, or helping those in other communities or parts of the world to do this. However perhaps using low-cost airlines just stimulates demand for low-cost services which cannot cost environmental impact into the equation..... you can only be your own guide!! However, there are often alternatives to flying which are, in fact, a whole lot more interesting. An excellent and not to be missed site is the man in seat sixty-one http://www.seat61.com/ , where you can find out how to travel by ship & other earth bound modes of transport from York to Marrakesh and many other more adventurous journeys besides...See also 'Further Afield' section in this guide.