A COUNCILLOR'S plea to give the authority a say at vital bus meetings has been supported by fellow members.

Earley councillor Pauline Jorgensen presented a motion, asking for Reading Buses to allow council representatives to attend board meetings, concerning services in their area.

The plea follows a long-running spat between Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) and the bus company over cuts to bus routes in Woodley and Earley.

Cllr Jorgensen said the involvement of the authority could help prevent 'costly mistakes' from being made in the future.

Concerns were previously raised about changes made by Reading Buses to the 19a/c services, which left many elderly and vulnerable residents isolated.

She said: “The bus company would benefit from having local knowledge about routes outside Reading.

“It would also make sure that the voices of people living in Earley and Woodley are heard by Reading Buses.

“Conservative councillors and activists in Earley and Woodley will now be pressing Reading Buses to grant Wokingham Borough observer status, and ensure that our residents’ voices are heard.”

Reading Buses opted to make changes to the 19a/c services after increased the level of funding by £44,500.

The cherished routes were discontinued last year and replaced by the Number 12 service, which many residents felt were 'not fit for purpose.'

The bus company decided to pull the routes after revealing they were not financially viable, sparking outrage from campaigners and politicians.

The reinstated service is run by Reading Buses and reflects the old 19a/c routes, with hourly buses in each direction.

Cllr Jorgensen's motion was backed by Full Council, while all Labour members voted against the proposal.

She added: “I am disappointed that Labour councillors voted against this motion – presumably to shield from criticism their Labour colleagues running Reading Borough Council, which owns Reading Buses.

“The local Labour party in Earley and Woodley needs to explain to residents, like those in my ward, why they feel local people shouldn’t be represented at Reading Buses’ meetings."

Granting 'observer status' would allow representatives from WBC to take part in discussions at board meetings, although they would have no power in decision-making.