Reading Buses have given bus users in the town’s suburb of Whitley the opportunity to comment on the way their buses should run. The operator has been working with the lottery funded ‘Whitley Big Local’ project, with research supplied from the University of Reading following extensive interviews of local people asking them what they wanted from a local transport service. The research revealed residents required a cross-Whitley service to go to more places in the local area as well as needing a direct bus to the hospital.
Plans have been drawn up by the operator which are due to come in to force from September. The main proposal concerns scarlet 9 being re-routed to incorporate all major points of interest in the area, such as supermarkets and the Whitley Community Café and will link many more parts of Whitley directly with the hospital. The service will continue to run every 30 minutes but the timetable is still being finalised and some other routes will be amended to accommodate the changes to the 9 route.
CEO Reading Buses, Martijn Gilbert, said, ’This project really is unique. I don’t recall any other project that has such qualitative academic research to inform the policy on individual routes like this. The research has shown that the people of Whitley have a great many needs from their public transport and hopefully this proposal ticks most of those boxes. We have been privileged to work with the project to better understand the needs of the community in Whitley.’