I received a very worried email from a student yesterday who’s college accommodation is on Beaumont Street. The County Council has temporarily relocated some bus stops from George Street to right outside his accommodation for the duration of the George Street Closure (several weeks). As you can see from the picture, the pavement is narrow and the stops really are within centimetres of people’s windows.
The student is understandably concerned because this is a critical time of the year when many students are studying extremely hard and have finals exams in the coming days and weeks. I remember my own finals exams so am acutely aware of what a sensitive time this is for those with exams and how destructive noise disturbance is to study and potentially exam results.
I have today written the Stagecoach and the County Council to try to mitigate or remove the problem and will keep those reading this page updated with any responses I get. I don’t believe any Oxford Bus Company buses use this route but have also written to them to check.
I’ve had an email from some residents of 5-7 Beaumont Street in central Oxford, very concerned about the temporary bus stops right outside their windows. According to the attached snippet from the Oxford Mail today I think S1, S2, S3, 14, 17 and 18 routes will be using those stops so would you confirm if that is correct, while George Street is closed, and let me know the earliest and latest times that the stops will be serviced by buses please? I am trying to gauge the extent of the disturbance the residents of 5-7 Beaumont Street might be subjected to.
Would you also let me know if there is anything you can do to mitigate the problems of noise that will disturb study and sleep of those living and working at 5-7 Beaumont Street?
To County Highways (firstname.lastname@example.org) I wrote:
I’m afraid there is a serious problem with the relocation of the bus stops from George Street to right outside 5-7 Beaumont Street for the duration of the George Street closure. 5-7 George Street is occupied by some 35 students of Oxford University and many of them are currently studying very hard for their finals exams that are in the coming days and weeks. The bus stop relocation could not have come at a worse time for them as they are at a critical stage of their education and indeed lives. I quote the email from one of them:
“Today myself and the other 35 or so students living in these houses in Beaumont Street have discovered that the Council has installed bus stops directly outside our houses and is intending to use them to serve the bus services that currently run down George Street for 10 weeks. We have received absolutely no notice of this change or proposal, and the College have also informed me that they haven’t received any information about this either. Given that we are all final year students with upcoming exams we are very concerned that what is currently a coach loading bay (used fairly irregularly and only really in daytime hours) and double yellow lines is now going to become several crowded bus stops with dozens of people standing around directly outside of our houses at peak times and into the late evening. We already suffer from quite severe noise from the infrequent use of the coach bay, and are very concerned that this looks likely to worsen severely.”
So I am asking you as the Highways authority if there is any way that the location of these stops can be adjusted so as to reduce the impact on my constituents. Everyone appreciates that the George Street closure is needed but this really is a dreadful time this is to disturb (for about 18 hours per day, 7 days per week) those studying for critical exams. Starting it at the end of June would have been far less disruptive too but I imagine it’s too late to change the schedule now.
Is there anything you can to do help?
So I’ll keep people updated on this and if you are affected I urge you also to write to Stagecoach and to Highways to see if volume of requests to re-think this will have the desired effect.
Update 1151hrs 13 May: Oxford Bus Co don’t use these stops. Stagecoach has just sent me a load of timetables. No reply from County Highways at all. I have nagged the County Council.
Update 1755 14 May: I have now spoken with Highways Officers. There is to be a meeting tomorrow morning (Thursday) to discuss this. I will speak again to officers first thing to see if the bus stops can be moved a bit further down Beaumont Street to where the first floors of the buildings are not residential accommodation. This should help a lot.
Update 0839 15 May: I have just had a really helpful call from a County Council officer. I feel he completely understand the problem and while the bus stops probably can’t legally be moved in the short time needed, he has agreed to informally ask Stagecoach to see if they can stop a bit further down the road and turn engines off quickly. He’s also going to see about putting some laminated signs on the bus stops asking people to wait quietly as there are residents needing to study very close by. I’ll monitor the situation – please comment here if you are noticing problems or changes.