PLANS to reinstate a popular Woodley and Earley bus service have taken a leap forward.

Wokingham Borough Council is set to put the 12 route out to tender after community campaigners warned it was not fit for purpose.

Concerns over the service's future sparked a backlash from residents who use it and councillors have agreed it needs to improve.

Councillor Keith Baker, lead member for transport, said: “This service is a much loved and valuable facility in Woodley and Earley.

“Residents want and need the morning service put back so that they can use it to get to work and to their early hospital appointments. They rely on it. It’s a real community service.”

The former 19 a/c route's subsidised contract with Reading buses ended in 2017.

Transport chiefs at the bus firm decided there was not enough money in its budget to continue to fund the peak morning journeys.

The new 12 route was then set up as a temporary service to bridge the gap for areas in Woodley and Earley which do not have a commercial bus service.

Now, the council will put the route out to tender, meaning companies can bid to take over the service.

Cllr Baker added: “The consensus from everyone who took part in our consultation and meetings was that the current 12 service does not meet the needs of the community

“This is why this tender process, which will start this spring, is so important.”