CONCERNED bus users had the chance to voice their fears about changes to 'lifeline' services.

More than 250 residents attended a public meeting at Caversham Baptist Church after Reading Buses revealed more plans to reduce services for Caversham and Emmer Green.

As part of the changes, the Pink 22 route will no longer run directly to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, while Sunday services will be reduced from once an hour to once every two hours.

The meeting was attended by Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East, who supported the concerns of elderly and vulnerable passengers.

He said: “Buses are a lifeline for many people, particularly older and disabled people, families, young people and commuters, and the meeting helped residents to point out how much they value local local services to the bus company.

“I am going to work with Reading Buses to consider other ways of protecting services and reinstating those which have been lost, through considering a range of measures.

“These include seeing what can be done to encourage more people to use buses, and also what can be done to reduce the cost of traffic congestion to the bus company.

“I think it is also important to listen to residents’ views on Reading Borough Council’s consultation on considering a workplace parking levy or a congestion charge, which the council has launched to consider ways to help support improvements to public transport.”

A series of other changes have been made to bus services in Caversham and Emmer Green over the last year.

The latest batch of changes would see the frequency of the 23 and 24 will be reduced to half hourly.

In addition, the weekday off-peak 25 service will be reduced to hourly and the 25 service will run once every two hours on Sundays.

Helen Lambert, of the Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA) said: “We are very concerned about these proposals. There are a lot of people who would prefer to use the bus to get around, but if the service is reduced they will have no choice but to use their car.

“Air pollution and traffic congestion is already a major concern around Caversham, so we welcome any efforts to reduce this, but without a reliable bus service there will be no incentive for people to leave their cars at home.”