The first motor bus service between Oxford and Burford via Farmoor, Swinford Toll Bridge, Eynsham and Witney was launched at the beginning of June 1920 by the Oxford bus company. By 10 June, the General Manager reported that the route ‘is now in full swing and likely to justify all of the anticipations I have held out. It only wants to be well known and every day it is now advertising itself.’
August Bank Holiday 1920 was a very disappointing day. Rain from early morning to late at night causing general depression which was severely reflected upon the bus company’s receipts. Nevertheless, the Burford route contributed £41 out of the company’s total income of £448 on the day. Indeed, the country routes contributed 50% of the income from bus operations on the day, with the rest coming from excursions and hire operation.
The attraction of the new country routes was that although the City Council regulated services within the city, outside there was no regulation so the company could make more money on its country routes for every mile. In those days nobody commuted into Oxford from outlying villages and towns, so the first timetable was designed to bring shoppers and day trippers into Oxford. However, by 1927 it had increased to hourly over most of the route.
The company used Daimler ‘Y’ type chassis on its buses and built single deck bodies for the country routes. The picture shows one of the buses at Swinford Toll Bridge near Eynsham. The company had to pay an annual toll, based on the number of journeys for free passage over the bridge.
The Oxford Bus Museum has several original Y type chassis on display and, awaiting restoration, is the single deck body which was used on the country routes. The museum is temporarily closed because of the Coronavirus restrictions.