Daphne Hampson does not realise now fortunate she is with a limited stop bus every half hour to Cambridge. From my home in Bedford I was fortunate enough to attend each university in turn 1957-62. I remember the beginning of the Oxford service after WWII. There were four buses a day and the journey was 2 hours 55 minutes: rather oddly the route started at Aylesbury. Cambridge was one hour 40 minutes by the faster route and continued to Northampton, which did offer a direct service to Birmingham after Beeching closed the railway.
I met my future wife on Mayday 1960. We used the Premier travel Saturday/Sunday coach via Bedford or Luton and the Bedford-Birmingham buses in vacations. Slower than hitchhiking when I was in the RAF, they were reliable and not excessively slow. The Oxford bus passed my home road and my lodgings in Canterbury Road which shortened the journey. The railway to Bletchley was inconvenient then: the line survived Beeching but the Cambridge line did not.
We still cross England from Devon by car and find better roads are countered by speed limits and more traffic. I no longer travel for meetings but when I did, I wrote several times to point out that punctuality is more important than speed. Oxford is still the centre of England (if not of the universe!.) We were married and held our Golden Wedding there; but London remains the hub of transport.