Consultation on Withdrawal of Subsidy for Two Bus Services

BUS users and residents are being encouraged to respond to a consultation on the proposed removal of Council subsidy for two community bus services.

As part of a package of budget savings agreed in July last year, the Council agreed to consult on a proposal to remove funding for the Monday to Friday Community Link bus service 28 (plus 28a/18). On average, less than 10 passengers a day board the service at  Kentwood Hill, New Lane Hill, Napier Road and Caversham Park Village. For Marchwood Avenue and Rivermead, the average number of people boarding is less than 5 a day.

At a time of severe budget pressures caused by unprecedented cuts in Government funding and rising demand for Council services, the Council can no longer afford to subsidise the poorly used service.

The second service being consulted on is bus service 991, which provides a Monday to Friday service from Whitley Wood and Coley Park, to Prospect and Denefield Schools, which is worked by the Community Link (28) bus.

Residents can respond to the public consultation on the removal of Council subsidy on both routes online at www.reading.gov.uk/communitylink Alternatively they can email: transport@reading.gov.uk or write to: Transport Planning, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, RG1 2LU.

If agreed following the period of consultation, the removal of Council subsidy will mean both services will stop operating from 31st March 2018.

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“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 so infrequently used.

“Usage at all locations, except Marchwood Ave and Rivermead, is only up to 10 people a day, and for Marchwood Ave and Rivermead it is less than 5 a day. The Council therefore needs to ensure what budget remains provides the best possible value for money in terms of public benefit, which is why there is little option but to identify savings such as these to help balance the budget.

“We of course appreciate that for the small number of passengers who use the services they remain important. I would encourage those people to take some time to respond to the consultation.”

The closing date for consultation responses is September 1st. A report on the consultation will return to a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee in the Autumn before a final decision is taken.