FRUSTRATED commuters and councillors have raised concerns after their rush-hour service was withdrawn by the bus company.

Reading Buses terminated the 19a/c service in the latest batch of timetable changes and residents are becoming irate after their complaints have been 'ignored'.

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen slammed the bus company after Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) increased the level of funding handed out for the service.

She said: “Residents have informed us Reading Buses has been telling them that WBC has reduced funding for buses in the area, but the truth is plain for all to see.

“It is Reading Buses, wholly-owned by Labour-run Reading Borough Council, which seems to be failing to put first the needs of commuters and hospital-goers living in Woodley and Earley.

“Local residents can be assured that your councillors will continue to stand up for your interests.”

Cllr Jorgensen recently met with Councillors Keith Baker (Woodley) and Chris Bowring (head of Highways and Transport).

They discussed with officers the changes made by Reading Buses to the services following their demand for massively increased subsidy to protect the routes.

The Maiden Erlegh Residents’ Association (MERA) met earlier this month to discuss the problem.

Steve Feltham, secretary of MERA, explained: “Reading Buses are blaming WBC for this state of affairs and we have been told the problem has arisen from a last-minute demand for a lot more money.

“The council was ill-prepared to respond to this at such short notice before the new timetables were due to come into effect.

“The new timetable makes no sense. The more profitable rush hour services have been withdrawn altogether.

“No evening rush hour services operate at all. Some people have speculated Reading Buses is planning to scrap our bus service completely to drive people to use the primary routes, thereby maximising the profits for Reading Buses.”

Since the latest changes, some people have had to wait as long as two hours for a bus in the afternoon on weekdays, with no evening services at all.

MERA says the borough council will consult with residents in the coming weeks to address the problem, but Reading Buses has said the changes are permanent.

Reading Buses has been approached for comment.