Consultation underway for substitute buses for Bicester

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Rail passenger groups facing more than a year of substitute buses when the Bicester to Oxford line closes in February have until the end of the month to comment.

The consultation is not open to the general public, but stakeholder groups including the Oxford and Bucks Rail Action Group (OBRAG) are being asked to comment on draft proposals.

The line between Bicester and Oxford is due to close in February next year and reopen in summer 2015 as part of work to join the Oxford-Bicester line to the Chiltern Mainline. Dr Ian East, chairman of OBRAG, said the proposed bus services between Oxford, Islip, and Bicester Town will be topped up at peak times by others running non-stop between Bicester Town and Oxford.

He said the proposals also include the carriage of bicycles and pushchairs on some or all buses, as well as pre-booked taxis for wheelchair users at no extra charge.

While Dr East said the disruption “might have been much worse”, he called for pledges to provide enough buses at peak times, and to make sure all provided services can carry bikes and pushchairs.