FRUSTRATED commuters say their calls for better bike racks at Bicester's newest train station are being ignored.

For more than 18 months campaigners have complained to Chiltern Railways about the insufficient spaces at Bicester Village Station.

Cyclists say the lack of bike storage – with just 10 racks on one side of the station – could be discouraging people from ditching their cars and swapping to the saddle.

This despite Bicester's ongoing 'garden town' efforts to get more people walking, cycling and off the roads.

Alison Clements, who lives between Ambrosden and Bicester, rides to Bicester Village Station every morning before commuting to Oxford for work.

She said: "On the Shell garage side there are 10 racks and on a Mondays or Tuesday especially they are always full by the time I get there at 8.20am - without exception.

"There are usually 10 to 15 bikes on a sunny morning, so I dread to think what the situation is like a bit later in the day."

The station was built with about 50 cycle racks, 30 outside the main entrance and 20 spaces on the second entrance near the Shell garage on London Road.

However, of those 20, 10 are individual 'bike sheds' which – as far as commuters can tell – have remained locked and unusable ever since the station opened.

Since opening, Chiltern Railways has installed 20 more bike racks on the main entrance side, but commuters say there still aren't enough.

The two sides of the station are divided by the busy London Road level crossing which can have its barriers down for several minutes at a time, and Ms Clements said it was not acceptable for cyclists to have to contend with the level crossing each morning just to get to the extra racks.

She went on: "All they need to do is take out the lockable bike sheds and put in another 30 bike racks on the Shell garage side.

"This would mean they are better prepared for the housing developments which are under way including [1,900-home] Graven Hill or upcoming plans for [1,500-home] Wretchwick Green on that side of the station.

"If Bicester is trying to encourage people to cycle and live up to its 'garden town' and 'healthy town' names something needs to be done – at least as long as Chiltern continue to say you can’t take bikes on trains.

"There need to be bike racks both ends."

Bicester Village Station opened in October 2015 on the site of the former Bicester Town Station, completely rebuilt with a new joining entrance to Bicester Village shopping outlet.

Elaine Plant, press secretary for Bicester Millennium Cycling Club, said: "Although I do not commute myself, the general opinion in the club is that Bicester Village station is geared up mainly for shoppers.

"Inadequate bike racks, and the fact that you cannot take your bike on a train unless it folds, lead to a disjointed transport system which prevents many cyclists from commuting – not great for a town which supposedly has 'garden town' status."

Chiltern Railways announced in January last year that all bikes, except folding ones, would not be allowed on its more popular services.

Responding to complaints about the Bicester Village Station bike racks, customer services director Alan Riley said: "We are sorry to customers who are currently not satisfied with the cycling facilities at Bicester Village Station.

"Over the last year we have added extra space and we now have 80 spaces available. The number of customers using the station is growing at a fast rate and we recognise the need to do more.

"We will be further increasing the cycling capacity at the station and will update customers once timescales have been finalised."