A NEW bus service connecting Bicester with Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital is leaving patient visitors hanging around for hours.

Stagecoach unveiled its 11 Gold buses and launched a new direct route to the Headington hospital this month, cutting round trip journey times by about an hour.

But pensioner Diane Maudling, who initially welcomed the direct bus, said the service does not cater for patients or their visitors.

All three buses running directly between Bicester and the hospital leave the town before 9am, five-and-a-half hours before visiting hours start.

The three direct return buses leave the hospital between 3.35pm and 5.45pm.

Mrs Maudling, of Longfields, Bicester, said: “It’s a good service for workers, but it’s no use for people visiting the hospital.

“The buses don’t connect with clinic appointments and visiting hours.

“I’m really rather disappointed. I thought the new direct service was going to benefit the patients, but it doesn’t.

“I think another bus leaving Bicester at lunchtime would be a real benefit.”

The later services to the John Radcliffe Hospital include a change of bus in Summertown and the round trip can take almost three hours.

Mrs Maudling also called for direct buses to be implemented at the weekend.

Stagecoach spokesman Chris Child said the firm would look at the demand for services.

He said: “The new journeys from Bicester to the John Radcliffe are primarily for people who live in Bicester and work at the JR.

“These have been timed in co-ordination with the hospital to try to fit the working patterns of as many people as possible.

“Passengers can also make connections between route S5 and 14 around Summertown, providing regular journeys through to the hospital.

“The investment in newer buses, which run more frequently, plus these direct services has been a big investment in Bicester.

“We are monitoring the service closely and if there is sufficient demand then we would consider expanding even further.”