04:00PM, Friday 22 October 2021
Slough Borough Council is looking to introduce more bus lanes into the town if it secures part of a £3billion Government fund to improve public transport.
The local authority wants to entice more passengers onto buses in Slough but says people have been put off by expensive fares and health and safety fears during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council is planning to submit its Bus Service Improvement Plan to the Department for Transport by the end of October in order to be considered for Government funding.
Labour councillor Rob Anderson, cabinet member for sustainable transport, told a cabinet meeting on Monday: “If we’re going to meet our targets on climate change and cleaner air we’re going to have to change that narrative and get people back into using public transport for a number of journeys.
“We know we can’t carry on having people drive around all the time in the same way they have in the past.”
The council has agreed to work alongside bus operators in the town in an ‘enhanced partnership’ which will aim to improve the reliability of services, increase passengers numbers and improve passenger satisfaction.
The local authority has drawn up a £54million package of bus improvement measures including introducing bus lanes in Windsor Road and Farnham Road – but these would be subject to securing funding.
Council leader James Swindlehurst: “For years we had rising bus usage in Slough and that’s taken a curve for the worse and COVID did even more to diminish that, as did huge price rises by some of the operators.
“We need new support to get people back on public transport after they were made afraid of using it due to the risks during the pandemic.”
The meeting heard that discussions are ongoing between the council and Heathrow Airport to restore bus services to and from the airport which were essential for workers before the pandemic.
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in yesterday's referendum - and while the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead fell into the remain camp, Slough voted to support a Brexit.