RESIDENTS in Woodley and Earley have been left with a bus service that is ‘no longer fit for purpose’ according to a group of campaigners.
Following changes to the 19a and 19c services, Reading Buses and Wokingham Borough Council launched a public consultation asking for feedback on the revised service, which was replaced by the number 12 earlier this year.
But campaigners Shirley Boyt and Angie Burnish, who both live in Culver Lane, say that this consultation does not address the problem enough, so have compiled their own survey for local bus users and residents.
Mrs Boyt said: “The radical changes to the 19a/c bus service which served Woodley and North Earley have left residents with a bus that is no longer fit for purpose.
“Residents have been campaigning for Wokingham Borough Council and Reading Buses to rethink these changes.
“The route provided the only link from the area to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and these changes have meant that people are forced to use taxis at great expense or rely on the over-stretched hospital transport service.
“This survey is an opportunity to have a say on the future of public transport in the area and we hope that all those who previously used service 19a/c and those who currently use service 12/13/14 will answer these questions.”
The residents’ survey is supported by local councillors, and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has agreed to take its results into account alongside the results of its own consultation.
Whitegates councillor and Labour parliamentary candidate, Cllr Andy Croy said: “I am delighted to be working with Shirley and Angie and other residents to get back the best possible bus service for Woodley. This is the first step in our campaign.
“There is widespread anger at the loss of buses throughout Woodley and Whitegates and we felt the official Wokingham Borough survey would not capture the impact of the cuts.
“I have heard numerous accounts of the increase in hardship and isolation which these cuts have created.
“I am pleased WBC will accept the results of our survey into their consultation and
I urge residents to complete the online survey as quickly as possible.”
The online version of the survey can be found at www.wokinghamlabourparty.org/bus2017. Residents can also request a paper copy of the survey by calling Shirley Boyt on 07793 767 314.