04:39PM, Thursday 23 June 2022
The council has backed plans for a new ‘enhanced partnership’ with bus operators, with hopes of bringing a ‘London-style’ service to the town.
The move forms part of the Government’s National Bus Strategy to bring passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels, and was approved at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
Plans could involve putting on new routes and improving journey times, as well as additional bus passenger information.
SBC’s overall aim is to prove to Government that the authority is ‘oven-ready’ and ‘serious’ about improving bus travel.
The enhanced partnership plans will be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) for its consideration.
Back in April, the council expressed its disappointment after missing out on millions of pounds worth of Government cash to improve bus services in the borough.
Local authorities were tasked with submitting a document called a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to the DfT which set out the vision for bus travel in their areas.
But the authority - along with neighbouring Windsor and Maidenhead – was not included on the list of cash recipients.
Council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) hit out at the Government at Monday’s meeting.
“They asked everybody to bid for a bus improvement plan, gave out hardly any cash to a very small number of authorities, and yet, here we are passing the strategies, but they have not been forthcoming in capital investment to back them up,” he said.
The DfT said at the time that areas 'not showing sufficient ambition' would not be funded.
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