Stop crippling Caversham bus cuts

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For the second time in a year, Reading Buses has proposed to make substantial cuts to all bus services in Caversham. This follows earlier cuts and changes to some routes, back in February. The proposed cuts would see a reduction in bus services on routes 22, 23, 24, 25.

This comes at a time where congestion is higher than ever before and there are now talks of the council (owners of RB) introducing a congestion charge, similar to central London. Therefore, the council are making driving into Reading as unattractive as its ever been, and yet they are also making public transport a less available alternative. Did I mention the council have also previously refused Uber to operate within the town? At a time when we should be seeing a viable alternative to cars, instead we are offered what will become a hugely compromised public transport network.

Reading Buses has money to spare; they continue to invest heavily in other routes (namely the 17). But what is the use of high-tech lights, and charging ports and new information screens when there are no services for those high-tech buses to run on. And there's less and less information for the new screens to show. Reading Buses should prioritise a basic service before claiming it cannot afford to run it.

Buses are a crucial part of any European city or town, and Reading is not an exception. In fact, the town currently prides itself on its bus network, though soon that may not be the case. If Reading Buses is struggling to get passengers on the bus, more and more cuts are certainly not the way forward; instead, providing a frequent and fast service makes the bus far more attractive and, most importantly, practical. By making Sunday services once every two hours all day, it becomes entirely impractical to simply go to the local shops by bus. Why would anyone bother?

If Reading wishes to see the rate of growth it enjoys today, it cannot become complacent or, even worse, start taking steps in the wrong direction for its residents. Problems like congestion will not be solved in this way; they will only get worse. And residents will be let down by an appalling public transport service, if these cuts are to be implemented. Ultimately, it is a loose-loose situation for everyone on both sides.

Please sign this petition to stop these cuts. RB has failed its passengers by not providing a consultation of any sorts, and there has so far been very little information. And these changes are intended to begin at the beginning of September, meaning there is very little time to sign!

Reading is a growing town, so it's fundamentally wrong for its bus network to be shrinking. Ironically, RB boasts that in a country of declining bus travelling, the company is continuing to see growth. But Reading Buses needs to start supporting that potential for growth, otherwise it risks following the countrywide trend. If action isn't taken now to stop these cuts, a declining service is inevitable.