Feasibility study into bus route
WRAYSBURY: The feasibility of a Windsor to Staines bus route incorporating Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury is being investigated, writes Jade Kidd.
Hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the Royal Borough to provide a bus service to serve the main road in Wraysbury, to keep residents connected to the villages of Horton and Datchet, and Windsor town centre.
At Tuesday’s full council meeting, lead petitioner Henry Perez said: “The lack of a bus service in Wraysbury to connect our villages with shops and medical facilities must be considered detrimental to sustainable travel and adds to already high levels of pollution in our village.”
He said that, prior to COVID-19, the number 10 bus route, which was funded by Heathrow, ‘provided a reliable service, with routes into Windsor, Slough and Heathrow’.
Heathrow stopped funding the route, and the last number 10 service was in April 2021.
This left Wraysbury without a bus service operating via Welley Road.
A petition for a new route gathered 1,675 signatures, meeting the 1,500signature threshold for a council debate.
Mr Perez added: “Residents without their own transport need a bus service. Offers of a lift by friends, family or a charity, although most welcome does not replace the independence they crave.
“They, like everyone, want the opportunity to return to a near normal life following the restrictions. A bus service would help remove them from their current isolation and loneliness.”
Lead member for transport Cllr Geoff Hill (TBFI, Oldfield) said the COVID-19 pandemic had a ‘significant impact on bus service across the borough, in this area specifically’.
He added that the wider picture has ‘included the need to review the whole of the borough network’.
While the council has to ‘re-tender for the support’ of bus services, there is ‘substantial evidence’ that costs could rise by 40 to 60 per cent, Cllr Hill said.
He added that despite cabinet approving additional funding for bus services for 2023-24, ‘this is still not sufficient to cover the whole cost of all the routes’.
Cllr Hill added that officers have recognised that the Wraysbury service is ‘sub-optimal’ and discussions with operators have been commissioned to investigate the feasibility of a Windsor to Staines route, which incorporates Datchet and Horton.
The idea would include buses operating in both directions throughout the day, with coverage and frequency across the day dependent on costs.
A motion for the petition to be taken into account alongside other feedback at a cabinet meeting in September was agreed.
Later in the meeting, members also agreed a motion to lower the number of signatures needed for a petition to come to full council from 1,500 to 1,000.