Over thirty residents from Westwood Glen and Chapel Hill met at Park Lane School in Tilehurst on Thursday 10th November to discuss the recent changes to the number 33 bus service which serves their part of Tilehurst. After over twenty years the service was withdrawn from Westwood Glen and Chapel Hill. This has left those going to work, school, the local shops, doctors and town centre with a long walk to the nearest stop, which is made worse by the fact that the return walk is uphill. The young and the elderly have been particularly affected by the changes.
Local Reading West MP Alok Sharma along with Tilehurst councillor Sandra Vickers held a meeting with residents, Reading Borough Council and Reading Transport at the Civic Centre on 24th October to try to solve the issue. Although the issue was discussed in detail at that meeting, a resolution was not reached and so a further meeting with the Council and Reading Transport has been organised by Alok and Sandra, and is due to take place on Monday 21st November at the Civic Centre.
At last week’s residents’ meeting, alternative suggestions were formulated to take back to the Council and Reading Transport at the meeting on 21st November. Everyone present agreed that if alternate buses during the main daytime service could travel via Westwood Glen/Chapel Hill, the 300 households who have lost their bus service would again be served. The extra distance of about 0.2 miles would not require any timetable changes. Unfortunately, it was agreed that the 28A Community Link bus, which currently serves the Westwood Glen/Chapel Hill route twice a day, is of little use for the majority of users.
Dorothy Wood and Patricia MacDonald, co-organisers of the residents’ meeting, said: “We cannot understand why there should be extra costs involved if the route were to be changed slightly to include Westwood Glen and Chapel Hill, or why there should be a drop in passenger numbers. All buses would continue to operate between Reading and Turnhams Farm, and the vast majority of passengers, that is to say those using the service between Reading and Tilehurst Triangle, would be unaffected.”
Alok said: “I know just how concerned many of my constituents are about the changes to the 33 bus route. We had a meeting a few weeks ago with the Council and Reading Buses, and I will be holding a follow-up meeting together with residents, the Council and Reading Buses this coming Monday. The strength of local feeling is clear, and I very much hope that Reading Buses can be persuaded to take a common-sense approach to the issue.”