CAMPAIGNERS say the service to Woodley and Earley is 'no longer fit for purpose' and have convinced councillors to take their survey into consideration.

Shirley Boyt and Angie Burnish, both of Culver Lane, Earley, are among the group of frustrated residents urging Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) and Reading Buses to reconsider after 'radical' changes to the 19a/c service.

Reading Buses took the decision to terminate the service in September following financial pressures, but frequent users say the revised fleet has left many passengers high and dry.

"The route [19a/c] provided the only link from the area to the Royal Berkshire Hospital," said Angie.

"These changes have meant that people are forced to use taxis at great expense or rely on the over-stretched hospital transport service."

Culver Lane in Earley is one of the worst-affected roads and so the campaigning duo took the decision to construct their own survey to demonstrate how important the scrapped route was to the community.

Shirley said: "The survey is an opportunity for people to have a say in the future of our public transport.

"WBC have agreed to include the results of this survey in their considerations."

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen slammed the bus company after the council handed over more money to Reading Buses, only to find out the service had been reduced.

Steve Feltham, secretary of Maiden Erlegh Residents' Association (MERA), told the Chronicle that he thought the timetable was 'completely inadequate'.

He added: "MERA believes that bus services would be better protected if they were financially viable rather than reliant on subsidies."

Reading Buses made the decision to reduce the service when the old contract expired, despite financial support from WBC.

Martijn Gilbert, CEO, explained: "Various cost pressures meant that it became loss making for us.

"We were forced to explore alternatives to the previous service pattern as the losses were unsustainable on our part, especially against a backdrop of rising cost pressures."

A public meeting will be held at the Oakwood Centre on Saturday at 11am to give residents the opportunity to voice their concerns about the changes to Whitegates and Woodley.

The online survey can be found here or by calling 07793 767314 for a paper copy.

The public consultation ends on Friday.