Transport

Getting around is an important skill all young people in Oxfordshire learn; to get to school, work or get out and about to have fun
empty bus

Whichever way you decide to get around Oxfordshire, make sure you:

  • Check your route and method of transport
  • Have a clear plan ahead and know what you will do if plans have to change
  • Make sure someone you can trust, like your parent or carer, knows where you are going and when you will be back.

Walking

On of the most popular ways for young people to get around is to walk. There are lots of benefits to walking. It gives you time to relax, unwind and listen to music or audiobooks. It is exercise, and helps keep you fit, especially if you walking quickly. It's also a great way to get to know your local area.

Crucial: When you're out walking make sure you are safe, at any time of day.

Cycling

When it's too far to walk, lots of people in Oxfordshire (and especially Oxford) decide to go by bike.

Apart from the cost of the bike, travel is free. The exercise helps keep you fit. Cycling is good for the environment as it does not pollute. Cycling is fast and reliable, especially in towns. But you need to cycle safely.

How to cycle in a way that keeps you as safe as possible:

  • Always wear a cycle helmet to protect against head injuries
  • Ride to be seen – this means wearing visible clothing and having reflectors and lights on your bike at the front and back
  • Keep your bike in good order especially your brakes (it's illegal to ride with worn-out brakes)
  • Be aware of your surroundings, conditions, other road users, potential dangers.
  • Know your highway code.

Instant expert: Rule 60 of the Highway Code says that when cycling at night you must have white front and red rear lights fitted, and rule 59 says you should wear a helmet and clothes which are safe and improve your visibility. Find out more from The Highway Code : Rules for Cyclists.

Look after your bike

Bikes need to be looked after. This means checking they are in good working order (brakes, tyres, lights and gears) AND making sure your bike is in a safe place or securely locked whenever you leave it. The best place to park your bike is in a cycle rack, securely locked. If you are leaving your bike somewhere else (for example, against railings or a lamp-post) always check for no bike parking signs.

How to lock-up your bicycle safely and securely

If your bike is stolen

Report the theft to the police, and your insurance company, if the bike is insured or covered by your household insurance - you will normally need to report the theft to the police first.

Instant expert: All about keeping your bike safe, from Thames Valley Police

Public transport

Public transport includes trains, buses and coaches. Oxfordshire has good transport connections, with overnight services available on the most popular routes. There are discounts for some young people on some routes and services. You may need to buy tickets in advance, provide proof of age or buy a travel card.

Crucial: If you  have a permanent disability, or a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months, then you may be able to apply for a Disabled Person's Bus Pass. Check eligibility and find out how to apply on the Oxfordshire County Council website.

 

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or visually impaired, Journey Assistance Cards are available from Stagecoach or Oxford Bus Company.

How to plan a route on Public Transport anywhere in Oxfordshire:

  1. Go to Traveline South East.
  2. Enter where you are starting from (usually your home post code) and where you want to go.
  3. Click on Submit (the green button) and you will be given a choice of different routes.

Buses

Although buses can be noisy places (especially at busy times) they are usually very safe. They have CCTV and the drivers are all trained to deal with emergencies and problems. They also keep in touch by radio, so can easily report problems to their company or the police.

Crucial: Younger travellers can often get discounts from their local bus company, for example the Get Around card allows under 18s to only pay a £1 flat fare (single) on any Oxford Bus Company or Thames Travel service within the cityzone.

Trains

Trains are a popular choice for longer journeys and commuting. There are good train links to some parts of Oxfordshire, and it is a popular way to travel to Didcot, Banbury, Bicester and of course Oxford.

How to plan a journey by train:

  1. Go to National Rail Enquiries.
  2. Enter your journey details.
  3. Click on Go.

If travelling alone, in the dark, or at night, you may feel safer near the driver or with other people.

Crucial: Always know when your last train or bus leaves, and have a plan ready (for example: money for a taxi, or someone you can call for a lift) in case there are delays.

Taxis and minicabs

Taxis can be hailed in the street, or from a Taxi stand. They are often called black cabs, but may be different colours.

Minicabs need to be pre-booked. You must book them by phone or using an app.

All taxis and minicabs in Oxfordshire must be registered and licensed with your District Authority. Licensed taxis have plates, a fare meter, and the driver should also display their ID and License in a place visible to passengers.

Crucial: Never accept a ride or lift from a taxi if it does not have Taxi plates.

All taxi and minicab drivers have to pass an extra driving tests and receive information about safeguarding their passengers before they are licensed. If you have a problem with a taxi driver, you can complain to the Police or District Authority.

You can find lists of local Taxi firms and locations of taxi ranks on your District Council website.

Crucial: If you have mobility problems or are disabled, you may be able to get transport from Dial-a-ride.

Getting a lift

For many young people, getting a lift with family, friends, or parents is the most practical way to get around. A lift from someone you trust may also be the best option if you're travelling late or early, over long distances, or to remote locations.

Do it right:

  • Only get a lift with someone you know and trust.
  • Never get a lift with someone who's been drinking.
  • Never get a lift with someone you don't know

If you are 18+ you can lift share with drivers around Oxfordshire to save on petrol. For more information visit Oxfordshire Lift Sharing.

Learning to drive

When you are sixteen you can learn to drive a moped, and when you are seventeen you can learn to drive a car. Your can apply for your licence three months before your sixteenth or seventeenth birthday. To get your first provisional driving licence online for a car, motorcycle or moped you need to:

  1. Go to www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence
  2. Fill in the online form
  3. Pay the fee

Your license will usually arrive within a week. You then need to learn to drive, and pass your driving test.

Crucial: Want to get started on learning to drive right away? Companies like Young Driver offer experiences and lessons to people as young as eleven.

Take Action: All Oxfordshire Library Members aged 16+ can access free Driving Theory Practice via Theory Test Pro 

Driving with a disability

Many people with disabilities find driving can help their mobility.  If you have a disability, and are old enough to drive, the  Regional Driving Assessment Centre based in Oxford can help. It provides specialist driving instructors, and occupational therapists to assess capability. Contact them to find out more.

Independent travel for people with SEN

The Frank Wise school has produced a video all about independent travel for people with SEN on buses, trains, and in taxis. You can watch the full version here, or the shorter version here.

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