A NEW route, new buses and more of them.

That is the New Year cheer for residents travelling between Bicester and Oxford.

From Sunday, buses between Bicester and the city will run every 15 minutes instead of every 20, throughout the day, and every 30 minutes in the evening. They previously ran hourly.

There will be a new direct route between Bicester, via Kidlington and Water Eaton Park-and-Ride, to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford Brookes University and the city centre, operating six times a day.

Previously passengers had to change buses in Banbury Road, Summertown, and the entire journey could take 90 minutes each way.

Diane Maudling, of Longfields, welcomed the new hospital route.

Last year her husband Pete was in hospital for about eight weeks and every day she faced an almost three-hour round trip by bus to visit him. It was even longer at weekends.

She said: “It’s something we have been waiting for for a long time, it’s long overdue.”

Eleven new buses with low carbon engines and free WiFi will take over the S5 route.

Driver Chris Maxfield said the new buses were “wonderful to drive and passengers really liked the Wi-Fi and comfy ride.”

During morning rush hour, Oxford Tube coaches will also be used to provide fast journeys from Bicester to Oxford. Starting at Caversfield and picking up at all Bicester stops, the bus will then run non-stop to Woodstock Road, and stop at the Old Radcliffe Infirmary and the city centre.

Stagecoach bus manager Carole Stevens said “These changes will help to meet the extra demand anticipated from new housing developments and the redevelopment of the town centre.”

The changes have also seen five new drivers employed, the Friday and Saturday night late bus extended to 3am, and in total 25 per cent more buses servicing Bicester.

l From Monday, January 30, bus stops will move from Bure Place to Market Square, Bicester, as work starts on the town centre redevelopment.

The S5 and X5 towards Oxford will leave from outside the Bicester Bed Centre, and the X5 to Milton Keynes and Cambridge will leave from North Street.