NEXT WEEK WILL see changes to local buses, as two services are combined.
Reading Buses, will be changing the leopard routes and route 9 in hopes to improve reliability and create new links.
From Monday, February 3, the leopard 3 will still run every 20 minutes between Reading, Shinfield and Arborfield with one journey an hour continuing to Wokingham.
But buses will no longer run between Arborfield and Bracknell with the 3b being removed.
Leopard 3 journeys finishing in Arborfield will be extended to serve more of the new homes in Sheerlands Road and Nine Mile Ride Extension in Arborfield Green.
Reading Buses say the leopard 10 will be renumbered as leopard 8 to coincide with changes on 9 to provide three leopard buses an hour to Spencers Wood – with extra buses to this area provided by the tiger 7.
Two buses an hour, as leopard 8, will still run along the length of Shinfield Road and visit the Thames Valley Science Park on Monday to Saturday daytimes before visiting Shinfield, with both now continuing to Spencers Wood as well.
Reading Buses Marketing and Communications Manager Jake Osman said: “The great news for route 9 customers is that their service moves into the leopard family.
“This helps to secure the future of the service and maintains the important link between the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Whitley Wood.
“Route 9 will now continue beyond Whitley Wood to Spencers Wood, with certain journeys still calling at Mereoak P&R to link with the hospital.
“Customers can still use the greenwave route 66 between the park & ride and the hospital too.
“Some leopard 9 buses will change into leopard 8 – and vice versa – at Spencers Wood using the new Croft Gardens bus link to create new links between Whitley and Three Mile Cross, Spencers Wood and Thames Valley Science Park.”
He said leopard services will now give an even 10 minutes frequent service in both directions between Reading and the hospital.
Explaining the reasons behind the removal of the leopard 3b service, Mr Osman said: “We introduced leopard 3b between Arborfield, Finchampstead and Bracknell in September 2017 to coincide with the opening of the Lexicon shopping centre and help connect those areas.
“With subsequent residential developments in the area we hoped this service would quickly establish itself.
“However, after two years of operation the number of people using the 3b service has been extremely low and residential development in this area is slower than expected.
“We can only conclude that the service is unlikely to grow to a sustainable level and so will be withdrawn from February 3, allowing us to reinvest the resource on the much busier, growing section of route into Reading.”
Customers who still want to travel between Arborfield and Bracknell can continue to use the leopard 3 into Wokingham and then transfer onto the lion 4/X4.
Customers in Finchampstead can use Courtney Buses route 125 into Wokingham.
The simplyWokingham & Bracknell tickets are valid on both Reading Buses and Courtney Buses services within this area.
The public timetable and maps are available online www.reading-buses.co.uk.