The Wokingham Paper

This Leopard is changing its route, not its spots

leopard diversion map

A MAJOR road closure in Arborfield lasting three weeks has resulted in the diversion of a key bus route through the area.

Reading Buses, which runs the leopard service through Shinfield and Arborfield, has announced plans to split the route to enable as many customers as possible to travel while Arborfield Road is closed.

From Monday until August 23, the leopard 3 will operate between Reading and Shinfield via its normal route, including the Royal Berkshire Hospital, but only running as far the School Green stop.

A second service, the leopard 3a, will run on a diversion, leaving Reading Station as normal then after the Reading College stop in King’s Road running non-stop to Arborfield.
The service will pick up the normal route to Wokingham from the bus stop at The Swan in Arborfield.

The company is keen to stress that the leopard 3a service will not serve the hospital, although customers will be able to alight at the Eldon Road stop on the King’s Road and walk through.

Customers are advised that they may need to transfer onto the other service in Reading town centre in order to complete their journey. For example, to travel from Shinfield Road in Reading to Barkham, customers will need to catch the leopard 3 into Reading and then transfer onto the leopard 3a to Barkham.

The distinctive leopard bus connects Reading and Wokingham. Picture: Reading Buses
The distinctive leopard bus connects Reading and Wokingham. Picture: Reading Buses

The only bus stops that will not be used during the closure will be the Magpie and Parrot, Hall Farm, Church Lane and Walden Avenue.

Martijn Gilbert, Reading Buses chief executive officer, said: “We have had a long, hard think about how this closure will affect our service. Splitting the leopard and using the diversion is the only way to ensure the majority of the route retains a service.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring our customers are not penalised financially by this route split.

“We are introducing transfer tickets on the leopard 3 and 3a that will allow interchange between the services whilst at the same time saving money for the people most affected by the diversion and service split.”

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