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Will the Oxford "Airline" Birmingham launch help ease XC overcrowding?

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route:oxford

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On July 2nd, The Oxford Bus Company will launch their Birmingham "Airline" service from Oxford to Birmingham International (via Banbury & Warwick) with an open peak £25 90-day period return.

This compares very favourably with the £73.80 peak OXF-BHI one month period return.

With free Wi-Fi, fairly generously sized seats and vast luggage holds, as well as a pre-9am departure on a Sunday, will this prove helpful to XC by easing the dreadful overcrowding and encouraging the price-conscious traveller with "normal" luggage away from CrossCountry trains on this core route?

http://airline.oxfordbus.co.uk/birmingham/
 
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DarloRich

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agreed - no

Are the main causes of congestion on these trans Oxford based passengers going to Birmingham airport?
 
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Polarbear

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I doubt it simply because it doesn't actually go to Birmingham city centre. Instead, the service ends at the airport, with a seemingly inconvenient connection for onward services of any kind (other than flights out of Birmingham of course).

It may take a few passengers off the Oxford-Birmingham International flow, but that's all.
 

W-on-Sea

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I can't see it myself - at least not unless Birmingham Airport becomes a rather bigger hub of (eg budget) airlines than it currently is. The Oxford Bus Co service is not so frequent, and not 24-hour, either, so it rather less convenient than the existing Heathrow and Gatwick services. As well as that - getting to Heathrow or Gatwick by train is much more of a faff from Oxford than getting to Birmingham International (and cheaper tickets than the absolutely full price ones can oft be got).

As well: I live in Oxford, and - whether I am typical or not I couldn't say - the thought of flying anywhere from Birmingham has never entered my head.

I think is a brave attempt (in the Yes Minister sense of the word) to see if a market exists, but I would surprised if it lasts very long
 

route:oxford

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the thought of flying anywhere from Birmingham has never entered my head.

I think is a brave attempt (in the Yes Minister sense of the word) to see if a market exists, but I would surprised if it lasts very long

Birmingham International is quite convenient for my fairly regular Oxford to Scotland trips - both by train and plane. I often split the mode on a single return trip to get best value versus time. For example, a cheap relatively early BHI departure on a Saturday morning, with a late Sunday evening return flight into BHX.

Oxford is quite London Centric, I've often wondered if it was quite so focussed in the days of ATV/Central.
 

westcoaster

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Isn't there a big push with the Chinese tourist/student market at Birmingham airport, remember reading somewhere about one or even two Chinese airlines starting flights,

(Fuzzy head at the moment, it also mentioned Oxford,Warwick, Stratford on Avon as the main destinations)
 

Greenback

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I reckon it might take a few off the XC trains, but not in sufficient numbers to make a difference to the overcrowding. The new coach service might also pick up a few who might have driven as well, otherwise I think it might be people who might have used other airports being persuaded to give Birmingham International a go.
 

Bald Rick

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Isn't there a big push with the Chinese tourist/student market at Birmingham airport, remember reading somewhere about one or even two Chinese airlines starting flights,

(Fuzzy head at the moment, it also mentioned Oxford,Warwick, Stratford on Avon as the main destinations)

There was. Weekly return flight to each of Beijing and Shanghai (which would hardly be much custom for a regular coach service). Due to start next month.

However the airline pulled out 3 weeks ago.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/...ham-airport-to-china-cancelled-in-shock-move/


Re the coach - a service every 2 hrs with say 60 seats is not going to make much of a dent in the 400+ seats per hour that XC provide.
 
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Greenback

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Re the coach - a service every 2 hrs with say 60 seats is not going to make much of a dent in the 400+ seats per hour that XC provide.

Those are my thoughts, too. I think their market will mostly be those who are ona tight budget.

A two hourly service would put me off I'm afraid, but it won't put everyone off.
 

class26

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I can't see it myself - at least not unless Birmingham Airport becomes a rather bigger hub of (eg budget) airlines than it currently is. The Oxford Bus Co service is not so frequent, and not 24-hour, either, so it rather less convenient than the existing Heathrow and Gatwick services. As well as that - getting to Heathrow or Gatwick by train is much more of a faff from Oxford than getting to Birmingham International (and cheaper tickets than the absolutely full price ones can oft be got).

As well: I live in Oxford, and - whether I am typical or not I couldn't say - the thought of flying anywhere from Birmingham has never entered my head.

I think is a brave attempt (in the Yes Minister sense of the word) to see if a market exists, but I would surprised if it lasts very long

Then I recommend you give it a try. BHX has more routes than you might think, 12 new airlines have started this year alone with more waiting in the wings. There is almost no need to go to London to fly if you are not in the very south and as a regular user of B`ham it is such an easy airport to use.
 

Greenback

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I even know people from Llanelli and Swansea who use BHX because they like it and find it an easy airport. Some do take the train despite the number of changes, but many drive using park and fly packages.

I don't know if this new service will be a success or not. The owners obviously think it will, and I think they have a good chance, but I don't think it's going to impact on XC very much at all.
 

ivanhoe

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Then I recommend you give it a try. BHX has more routes than you might think, 12 new airlines have started this year alone with more waiting in the wings. There is almost no need to go to London to fly if you are not in the very south and as a regular user of B`ham it is such an easy airport to use.

Totally agree mate. There are far more options from BHX than a lot of non Midlands based people think. I wouldn't dream of using Heathrow, unless I had to.
 

iantherev

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Wasn't this tried a few years ago? I'm sure it didn't last long?

Yes - in the 1990s when the M40 opened although it terminated in Birmingham. I travelled on it once and loading screen weren't brilliant. It had certainly finished by 1996 when I finished training.
 

Tetchytyke

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Birmingham Airport has plenty of good flights these days, and there's enough demand there for Emirates to have recently upgraded their one of their 3x daily Dubai flights from a B777 to an A380.

The coach link will make most of its money from students in Oxford and especially Warwick. It won't dent XC loadings as a) only one XC an hour goes to the airport and b) the coach doesn't go into the city centre.
 
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Minilad

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Another vote for BHX. Although I am in the area its excellent transport links make it a good airport to use. Once inside it's also one of the easier airports to navigate around.
 

The Ham

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There is an argument that the coach service could increase XC usage over time, as people use the coach and the airport because it is cheap and then find that they prefer the airport but the coach has problems which the train overcomes and so once they can afford to/they realise the advantage of the trains that they swap to using XC services.
 

Greenback

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There is an argument that the coach service could increase XC usage over time, as people use the coach and the airport because it is cheap and then find that they prefer the airport but the coach has problems which the train overcomes and so once they can afford to/they realise the advantage of the trains that they swap to using XC services.

You could well have a point there.
 

A0wen

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It does, however, offer a few things the train doesn't:

- it's running at times which are convenient for early flights. The first train direct train from Oxford to Bham Airport doesn't get you there until after 07.30. No good if you're on an early flight whereas by then the coach will have had 3 services arrive at the airport.

Secondly it will deliver you right to the terminal door, which the train doesn't.

Thirdly it has a few stops away from the main stations saving a journey into the centre.
 

Greenback

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It does, however, offer a few things the train doesn't:

- it's running at times which are convenient for early flights. The first train direct train from Oxford to Bham Airport doesn't get you there until after 07.30. No good if you're on an early flight whereas by then the coach will have had 3 services arrive at the airport.

Making or getting home from late night or early morning flights is where a coach service can really work well.

Secondly it will deliver you right to the terminal door, which the train doesn't.

Being dropped at the terminal entrance or being picked up at the exit form arrivals is another potential advantage. Especially at larger airports where it could be some way to a metro or heavy rail station in comparison.

Thirdly it has a few stops away from the main stations saving a journey into the centre.

I think there's a balance to be found there. While having more stops is an advantage in terms of making the service more attractive to those living nearby, at the same time having too many stops will simply increase the journey time, which will put some off, and increase the costs of operating the service.

Even with all this, though, I still don't think there will be any real impact on the XC services.
 

Rich McLean

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As a regular traveller between Oxford and Birmingham International (BHI), the main flow seems to be local traffic between BHI and Birmingham New Street, as many use BHI as a Park and Ride facility. Not a lot from Oxford, Banbury and Leamington actually get off at BHI, and those who do are either catching connecting buses, getting picked up or off to an event at the NEC or LG arena (of whatever it's called this week).

Majority of passengers from Leamington Spa, Banbury and south of there are heading to Birmingham New Street and beyond

For that reason, the Coaches will make little difference
 

Greenback

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I was wondering how much demand there actually is for XC between Oxford and Birmingham International. I might ask my mate who works the trains on that section, what he thinks.
 

Doctor Fegg

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A fair few people round here (West Oxfordshire) use Birmingham airport, so I can believe that there is at least some market.

In Oxford on Tuesday, though, I was a bit surprised to see a bus freshly liveried up for the Airline to Heathrow, Gatwick, and Birmingham: yes, a bus (a double-decker), not a coach. Was this just a fill-in vehicle or will this be the 'traction' for the new service?
 
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iantherev

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Fourthly, fares. Oxford-Birmingham period return on the Airline: £25. Anytime return on XC: £73.80.

A fair few people round here (West Oxfordshire) use Birmingham airport, so I can believe that there is at least some market.

In Oxford on Tuesday, though, I was a bit surprised to see a bus freshly liveried up for the Airline to Heathrow, Gatwick, and Birmingham: yes, a bus (a double-decker), not a coach. Was this just a fill-in vehicle or will this be the 'traction' for the new service?

I suspect it's a local service vehicle advertising the services.
 

OwlMan

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Through fares are being offered to Birmingham (by LM train from International), Coventry & Leamington (NX Bus from Warwick University)

Through tickets are available from your driver for an additional £2 single/£4 return (valid for travel on bus services 11, 11U, 12X and
900 services to Birmingham, Coventry and Leamington Spa, and London Midland trains to Birmingham only).
 

atillathehunn

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Some here clearly haven't visited BHX in a while. EK A380 daily, as well as a B777, QR now flying from there, as well as the feeder flights from Lufthansa and KLM.

A major academic centre like Oxford, with students from around the world, and professors and researchers constantly on the move, this seems like a logical move to provide connectivity to BHX when LHR is increasingly viewed as a pain in the rear. Not to mention stops in the West Midlands with an affluent population on the move.
 

class26

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Some here clearly haven't visited BHX in a while. EK A380 daily, as well as a B777, QR now flying from there, as well as the feeder flights from Lufthansa and KLM.

A major academic centre like Oxford, with students from around the world, and professors and researchers constantly on the move, this seems like a logical move to provide connectivity to BHX when LHR is increasingly viewed as a pain in the rear. Not to mention stops in the West Midlands with an affluent population on the move.

Not just Lufthansa and KLM offering connecting flights but -
Swiss, Air France, Brussels airlines, SAS Scandinavian, Iberia, Czech, Turkish, not to mention Air India (daily) with more to follow shortly so i am told.
 
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