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PickMeUp launches new University staff discount

A new introductory discount is available for University staff members on the Oxford Bus Company’s PickMeUp on-demand bus service. Each staff member is now entitled to four free journeys; to claim the discount, download the PickMeUp app and enter the discount code oxuni18x4. Staff must show their University ID when boarding the service, which is intended to improve transport options for those who need to get between places that are not well served by existing bus routes. Most trips on the service cost £2.50 but the price doubles for journeys along existing Oxford Bus Company routes. PickMeUp runs from 6am to 11pm in the week, from 7am to midnight on Saturdays and from 9am to 9pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

OxonBike cycle hire service rises from the dead

The OxonBike cycle hire scheme, which closed down last summer, has risen again under new management. Since the start of the year, the revived scheme has been run by Cycle.land, a local start-up run by Oxford alumni that also provides other bike sharing and pool bike services in Oxford. OxonBike uses docking stations, and those at sites including the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Science Area, Old Road Campus and the railway station are now working again.
Cycle.land are planning major improvements to the service through 2019, with the arrival of power-assisted e-bikes and the potential for more docking stations. Important outlying University areas such as Old Road Campus and the John Radcliffe hospital are not well-served by dockless hire bikes, which tend to cluster in the city centre, and the hope is that the return of OxonBike will mean these places usually have hire bikes available to help staff get around town in an environmentally-friendly way.

Solar panels added to Kennedy Building

Solar PV cells have been installed on the roof of the Kennedy and Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) buildings at Old Road Campus. The Henry Wellcome Building nearby may also get a PV system if the roof there proves suitable. Once this is done, almost all the projects to retrofit PV onto existing buildings that were planned by the Environmental Sustainability team will be finished.

Changes ahead for Science Transit Shuttle as pilot approaches its endScience Transit Shuttle Bus

The three-year pilot period for the Science Transit Shuttle is drawing to a close, and there are major changes on the way to ensure the service’s long-term viability.
The University and co-funder the Science & Technology Facilities Council are now exploring ways to maintain connectivity to Harwell and within Oxford, increasing scientific collaboration and the free exchange of ideas. They have invested £2m to establish the service, and this subsidy must now fall substantially as the shuttle becomes a commercially-operated public bus service. A tender to operate the shuttle is underway, and the successful bidder should take over in July.
Since 2016, the service has been used for more than 141,000 passenger trips, with the Oxford-Harwell route growing especially strongly. January 2019 saw record-breaking activity, with one week achieving 2,027 passenger trips – a huge increase compared to the same week in 2017, with just 853 trips.

Keeping Oxford on its bike over winter                 

The Environmental Sustainability team have been working over the winter to encourage people around the University to keep cycling even in the cold. It can be tempting to huddle indoors when temperatures drop, but by continuing to travel by bike staff are improving their health and reducing congestion and helping the climate.

Kicking off before Christmas, the Winter Wheelers campaign was the latest instalment of the NUS Unicycle scheme, with prizes on offer for staff and students who kept logging rides no matter the weather using the Unicycle website or mobile app.

Early in 2019 the team launched another similar competition, with more than 100 prizes to give away for people who logged journeys via Unicycle, encouraged others to cycle or took up riding themselves.

The Environmental Sustainability team can help with free advanced cycle training and even loans to buy a bike – visit their travel pages for more information. For regular updates, follow @OxfordEnvSust on social media.

University cafes join Refill Oxford free tap water scheme

Refill logo A new scheme designed to help the people of Oxford live more sustainable lives has launched, with two University cafes involved so far.

Refill Oxford is a mobile app that directs users to the nearest refill station at nearly 150 participating businesses to get their water bottles topped up for free. These range from pubs and restaurants to hospitals and even hairdressers, and more are signing up.

The cafes in the Maths and Biochemistry buildings (in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and the Science Area respectively) have signed up, and more University cafes may follow. The scheme is intended to make it easy to get tap water while out around town, reducing consumption of bottled water and hence plastic waste. The Environmental Sustainability team within Estates Services have supported its launch as it fits closely with the University’s own environmental targets

Swift Tower footings in place

The concrete base that the Swift Tower in the University Parks will sit on has been installed, and the tower itself is expected to go up in March near the pond. The tower, intended to provide attractive nesting places for endangered swifts, will be based on the winning design in a public competition run by the Oxford Swift City project. It received planning permission late in 2018 and will help advance the University’s efforts to deliver its Biodiversity Strategy, launched last year.

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