ARE the controversial A4 bus lanes here to stay or to go? Senior councillors are to make a final decision next week.

For well over a year, the experimental bus lanes between Dover Road and Uxbridge Road junctions have been a hot button topic among residents and motorists alike.

A massive uproar ensued when Slough Borough Council installed the A4 bus and cycle lanes in August 2020, by using grant funds from the government’s active travel fund in order to allow social distancing measures and to encourage more people to cycle or take the bus.

Despite changing it from 24-hour operation to peak times only, residents and motorists have still called it a ‘horrible idea’, ‘bonkers’, and a ‘waste of money’, and claimed it increases traffic congestion and journey times rather than reduce it.

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The change even triggered a petition, which garnered nearly 5,300 signatures, demanding the council to abolish this experimental order.

But next week, senior councillors will finally decide at a cabinet meeting whether or not the lanes should stay for good.

According to a report that will be presented to members on Monday, January 17, it has recommended the leadership team to allow the bus lanes to continue to operate at peak times only, to give public transport the “advantage” over traffic congestion.

Officers will also work to negotiate reductions in bus fares.

This recommendation also permits electric vehicles with authorised green number plates to use the bus lanes.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service previously revealed how keeping the A4 bus lanes will be cheaper than removing it, as it will cost the council nearly £100,000 to adapt and add to existing lines and signs if approved.

This cost to undertake the work will come out of the government’s integrated transport block funding grant.

If discontinued, it will cost £119,000 to remove the existing lines and signs.

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The report states the A4 bus lanes are needed because Slough’s road network is “under significant pressure, particularly at peak times, resulting in congestion, safety, and air quality issues”.

“Retaining the A4 bus lane will support priorities such as encouraging modal shift away from private car to public transport and other sustainable modes, improve journeys along a key public transport corridor and improve bus journey times and reliability,” the report stated.

“The options have been reviewed and demonstrate that the A4 bus lane, with some changes, will contribute to achieving the Council’s wider strategic priorities, contributing towards positive public health and environmental outcomes.”