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New bus routes take to the road

January 23, 2009 12:00 AM
By Neil Beswick, transport team leader, highways and engineering, 01628 796509. in Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Press Release

A package of new and revised bus services - many taking in St Mark's Hospital in Maidenhead for the first time - takes to the borough's roads at the beginning of next month.

The new services - which come into operation on Monday 2 February - coincide with a successful re-tender by Courtney Coaches to continue to operate the borough's bus network.

Cllr Colin Rayner, lead member for highways and Streetcare, said this week: "We are delighted to be announcing these improvements to our popular existing services, particularly for residents wanting to get more easily to St Mark's Hospital in Maidenhead and in light of the recent introduction of parking charges there.

"We have listened very carefully to comments from our bus users in revising these routes and we are confident that the changes we are making will not only maintain our existing widespread coverage of the borough for bus passengers but will also make it easier to get to destinations like St Mark's which so many people need to access."

The main route changes will be:

• A new route 4 serving Maidenhead town centre, White Waltham and Shurlock Row

• New route 5 serving Cranbrook Drive, St Mark's Hospital, Maidenhead town centre and Farmers Way

• Route 6 will remain the same but will additionally serve St Mark's Hospital. (There will be no change to the existing 6A route from Windsor to Newlands Girls' School in Maidenhead)

• A new X6 commuter "express" service from Windsor to Maidenhead at morning and evening peak times

• New route 7 from Maidenhead town centre to Woodlands Park every 20 minutes

• New route 8 serving Boulters Lock, Maidenhead town centre, St Mark's and Halifax Way

• A later evening service in response to local demand on the 239 Hurley Link leaving Maidenhead at 6.30pm

• The existing route 7S from Bracknell to Cookham via Woodlands Park, Maidenhead town centre and Halifax Road remains the same.

Cllr Maureen Hunt, ward member for Hurley and the Walthams, said: "I am delighted that following data produced showing the poor uptake of the 239 Hurley Link service and the recommendation to halve the number of buses on the service, only one bus during the day has been deleted.

"We still have an excellent service taking our residents to Maidenhead and Henley and now a much-required later service returning to Hurley from Maidenhead."

In addition to the revised routes, passengers will see distinctive new livery on at least one bus on each revised route.

The use of real-time information on several of the Maidenhead bus routes will be depicted on the town buses featuring clock graphics and the text-line number for passenger use.

The real-time text service - first introduced at five key stops in Maidenhead 18 months ago with on-street displays - will be extended to other stops on the new routes. By using the service - and texting 87296 on their mobile phone or through the internet - passengers can get real-time information about when a bus is due at their nearest stop. More information can also be found at http://rbwm.acislive.com/

Cllr Rayner explained: "The idea of real-time is that you are rewarded with more time - by knowing exactly when your bus will arrive and not having to stand at a bus stop for an unnecessary length of time.

"We are hoping that this technological advantage will appeal to a wide age range of potential passengers - and will help to encourage more people to leave the car at home and travel by bus instead."

Roger Battye, a member of Berkshire East health panel and Windsor and Maidenhead LINK, said: "The Right Care Right Place consultation showed that people in Maidenhead and the surrounding area would prefer health services to be delivered close to home.

"In response, Berkshire East PCT has commissioned a Minor Injuries Unit and increased outpatient appointments at St Mark's Hospital. It is good to hear that the RBWM is improving bus services to St Mark's. This should make it easier for patients to access health services."

In addition to the Maidenhead network changes, the White Bus service from Windsor to Ascot via Sunningdale will sport a striking new green design with graphics showing Windsor Castle, Windsor Great Park and Ascot Racecourse. This service will also be equipped with real-time passenger information in the near future.

Timetables and handy pocket-size guides with information on real-time and scheduled services are available from customer service centres in the Town Hall, Maidenhead, and York House, Windsor, as well as libraries, leisure centres and doctors' surgeries across the borough.

For further information on the new services contact Neil Beswick, transport team leader, highways and engineering, on 01628 796509.

Published: 23 January 2009