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Royal Borough announces extra investment in bus services

An extra £150,000 could be spent per year on Royal Borough bus services if councillors approve the funding this month.

The rise would bring the total yearly spend to £840,000.

Some of the money would be used to bridge a gap between the end of a number of service contracts, until permanent services are found, according to the council.

No further details on a potential gap were provided.

A paper, which will go to the Royal Borough cabinet on Thursday, April 27, recommends that councillors approve both the short-term funding, and four years’ worth of investment to secure existing routes until July 2022.

Cllr Hari Sharma, bus champion for the Royal Borough, said: “Residents can rest assured that we are committed to doing what we can to keep the local services they need at the centre of the public transport network.

“This proposed increase in our investment into bus services will give people peace of mind while we work with bus operators to secure the details of longer-term provision. We want to be clear that there will be no sudden end to services.

“As part of the tendering process we are open to any alternative arrangements that continue to meet residents’ needs and we look forward to being able to provide further details of these plans once the exercise is complete.”

The Royal Borough is undertaking a tendering process for the bus services on routes 4/4A, 5/5A, 8, 16/16A, 238/239 and the 305.

New services are expected to begin in August.

Cllr Phill Bicknell, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “As we build a borough for everyone the way we develop the transport network must be at the centre of how we plan for the future.

“Measures such as this, to ensure public transport continues to meet residents’ needs, are at the heart of our wider infrastructure plans to match the new homes and amenities that will arrive through regeneration and the emerging Borough Local Plan.”

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