Oxford Bus Company has defended its decision to re-arrange bus routes between Headington and Kidlington, telling passengers traffic congestion gave them no choice.

At the beginning of the month, the route 2 from Barton, serving Headington, the city centre and Kidlington was split in two in a bid to deal with increasing congestion.

The number 2 service to and from Kidlington now terminates at Magdalen Street East and starts from the Magdalen Street stop C1 outside Debenhams.

The new number 8 service from Barton and Headington terminates in the city centre and returns from Queen Street.

The changes have attracted a number of complaints from customers who said the two new services were not an adequate replacement for the old one.

Frank Samson, 84, of Chestnut Avenue, Headington, said: "The public was not given any opportunity to object to these revisions before they were implemented, as far as I am aware."

Nigel Eggleton, the company's commercial manager, said: "Giving our customers the best possible service is at the heart of everything we do.

"But we had no choice -- the traffic congestion in Headington had made the service unreliable along the whole of the route and doing nothing was not an option.

"Journeys which should have been taking just over 10 minutes were taking over 30 minutes.

"The delays had a knock-on effect on the whole of the route not just in the Headington area.

"The feedback we've had since the changes were made shows that, although some people's journeys have changed, by far the vast majority of our passengers have benefited from increased reliability as a result of the new services.

"The changes were only introduced after careful research and a thorough analysis of the traffic problems.

"We did assess all the possibilities before concluding that we had no option but to split the route.

"Since the decision was taken traffic congestion on London Road in Headington is still causing just as much concern.

"We made the changes to improve reliability, there has been no reduction in our costs and we are running the same number of buses on the two parts of the old route."