SENIOR Slough councillors have approved setting up a new partnership with private bus operators with the aim to bring a ‘London style’ service.

As part of the government’s National Bus Strategy, the council has set up an enhanced partnership with private bus companies that operate in the town to discuss and formulate plans to improve the service.

This could include adding new routes and improving bus journey time reliability as well as cheaper ticket offers, introducing a multi-operator ticketing scheme, and better bus passenger information.

The aim of this is to create a ‘London style’ bus service within the town to encourage people to swap from their private vehicles to public transport. It also wants to bring passenger numbers back up pre-pandemic levels.

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This is to show the government and other bodies the council is “serious” and is “oven-ready” in improving the town’s bus services when bidding for grants.

Panel members on the enhanced partnership board, which includes the council and bus operators such as Reading Buses, have to unanimously agree on proposals before they are implemented.

Cllr Mohammed Nazir (Lab: Baylis & Stoke), lead member for transport and local environment, who brought forward the report at a cabinet meeting on Monday, June 20, will be chairing this board.

The enhanced partnership proposal and its plans will be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) for consideration.

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Council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green) said: “The aim is to particularly stop operators from aggressively competing with each other and get them to see a bigger strategic vision and picture for the town, which I think will make an absolute step change in behaviour here and that’s why it’s worth having.”

Earlier this year, Slough Borough Council submitted £54m proposals to the DfT, which included new bus lanes in the town, to get a slice of £3bn of funding. However, like many other local authorities, the council was not successful.

Cllr Swindlehurst said: “The one disappointing thing was how few local authorities the government gave any money to.

“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 [the government] have not been forthcoming in capital investment to back them up.”

However, the DfT advised that further grants may be made in the future and the council can apply to other sources of funding.