Oxford care company gives workers bikes to deal with congestion caused by Botley Road closure

  • ITV Meridian's Ciaran Fitzpatrick explores why cycling is becoming even more popular in Oxford

The closure of the Botley Road in Oxford has led to a care provider giving its staff bicycles in order to get to their patients in time.

Botley Road won't fully reopen until October next year as work continues on a £161 million pound upgrade of Oxford train station.

Bellevie Care, which has a number of small teams across the area, said it has struggled to retain staff because of the congestion.

Emma Pithers, a Wellbeing Support Leader at the company, believes recruiting new people is now easier because of their new policy.

"It also means we can focus our attentions on these areas," said Emma.

"Staff don't have to worry about parking and people know exactly when they're going to turn up."

Work had been set to pause over the Christmas period but because of the change of design, construction must continue. Credit: ITV Meridian

It comes as works at the station were delayed again because of the discovery of a Victorian brick arch that is one metre deep and stretches for around 100 metres.

This meant there had to be a complete redesign of the plans because it's thought it could form part of the structural support of the railway bridge.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition for Network Rail to hand out compensation to businesses nearby who are missing out on the previous high footfall.

It's commonplace for driving in the area to take a lot longer than expected. So it's thought more people are turning to cycling, already hugely popular in Oxford, to cope with congestion.

Care worker Julie Nicholls said having her bike means she can now go underneath the station, rather than drive all the way round to get to Botley

"It's so much easier than driving these days," Julie told us. It halved her journey time to meet clients in and around Botley.

Artist's impression of new Oxford station western entrance Credit: Network Rail

Richard Griffiths from Network Rail apologised for the disruption but says the upgrade will be transformative.

"We're improving the road junctions for motorists, and it'll be better for buses that will go up and down Botley Road.

"We're going to have these big 4 metre wide paths for cyclists and pedestrians, and we'll be delivering a bigger better railway as well.

"We know it can be painful for some local people as we get there."

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