Routes go as austerity reaches Reading Buses

A stay of execution for council-funded bus routes in Reading came to an end when they were withdrawn in late July.

Community Link service 28, together with associated single journey route 18 and school route 991 were the subject of a consultation in summer 2017. The 28 linked parts of Caversham, Tilehurst and Kentwood not served by commercial routes to Reading town centre. Local newspapers reported the contract was worth around £40,000 a year.

Use was estimated at almost 40,000 journeys a year, and the services’ withdrawal will leave five roads unserved by buses. Cllr Tony Page says: ‘At a time of severe budget pressures caused by unprecedented cuts in government funding for public services, it is increasingly difficult to make the case for subsidising the number 28 route when it is used so infrequently.’

Reading Buses used a gas-engined Optare Solo on the 28. The vehicle type will now be used on Henley-on-Thames town services, which the operator took over from Whites of Berinfield in early August. Buses for those routes, funded by the town council, will carry Connect Henley-on- Thames branding on a two-tone green livery.

Reading Buses also withdrew off-peak JetRed service 102 (Newbury-Thatcham), which was subject to competition from Weavaway’s Newbury & District.