Disabled bus passengers are being reminded that a special service is available to help them cope with the closure of the Botley Road.

Last week Bryony Newport from North Hinksey complained that the closure at the rail bridge on April 11 meant her taxi fare increased when she attended an emergency appointment at the GP surgery.

She had to attend an emergency appointment at her GP in Beaumont Street and the normal cost of a taxi - approximately £10 - was £23.30 as she had to go via the A34 and Abingdon Road.

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Following Ms Newport's complaint, Network Rail has reminded disabled passengers they can use the special Botley Flyer service - even though it only runs three days a week while the rail authority and county council assess demand.

Oxford Mail: Buses on Botley Road

Network Rail spokeswoman Emily Maiden said: "We take the concerns of residents with accessibility needs seriously and are working with Oxford City Council’s ‘Inclusive Transport and Movement Focus Group’ to ensure we have the necessary assistance in place during the closure.

"For people that need assistance getting to or from the city centre, an accessible bus service called ‘The Botley Road Flyer’ will be operating three days a week from the Botley Road area. We are also creating an audio guide to help people make the journey independently from the bus stops on Osney Island and Frideswide Square."

The Botley Flyer:

Days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Times: 10am to 2pm

Collection points: West Oxford Community Centre and Seacourt Bridge car park

Frequency: One service an hour

Route: Woodstock Road into Jericho and then onto city centre

Drop-off points: Walton Street in Jericho for health centre and outside county hall on New Road for Westgate Centre

The vehicle is wheelchair accessible, but space needs to be booked in advance. Passengers can call 01865 768329 to book.

The service is operated by Oxfordshire County Council’s accessible transport team.

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The Botley Road will remain closed until October as Network Rail continue preparatory work on a £160m upgrade to Oxford station.

Oxford Mail: The Botley Road closure seen from Frideswide Square

This involves rerouting utility cables in the area and creating a new western entrance to the station. 

The rail bridge is also being replaced and there is likely to be a closure for a similar period of time in 2024.

Oxford Bus Company managing director Luke Marion said earlier: "Access for passengers with mobility challenges is an issue we raised with Network Rail and with Oxfordshire County Council as a concern during planning discussions.

“We spent significant time working with them to identify whether it would be possible for bus stops to be moved closer to the station area than the current arrangements at Osney Island to try to mitigate this concern. 

“Unfortunately, this did not prove possible for safety reasons, due to the need to maintain vehicle access to residential properties in Mill Street, Abbey Road and Cripley Road during the closure.

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 “We are, however, pleased to see that following engagement with the Oxford City Inclusive Transport and Movement Group, Network Rail has implemented some mitigations for those with mobility challenges, such as an audio guide to help people navigate through the closure."

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF