Tuesday, 13 October 2009

United Front Against Economic Threat To Public Transport

Reading Transport company continues to be a focus for political debate as Unite trade Union members were balloted on industrial action at the bus service provider.

279 members voted as strike action was rejected by a margin of 164-to-115, but alternative forms of protest were sanctioned by 158-to-129.

CEO James Freeman was relieved at the outcome and said he was encouraged that so many people participated in the process.

But he added that disruption may be "less than helpful" because of the economic recession and warned against 'exacerbating' the situation:
"any action that disrupted bus services would damage the crucial relationship the bus company and its staff has with its customers. And we value that relationship most highly. We are therefore going to be working hard to mitigate the effect of any action on our customers."
107fm provides the fullest quote.

Difficulties in staying out of the red have forced public interevention in the local authority-owned company to save popular routes, such as the vital 63 and 64 services to Woodley.

Wokingham Borough Council Conservatives Council Leader Cllr David Lee and executive member for highways and transport Cllr Keith Baker agreed that it was important to seek ways to avert the threat to strategic routes.

Loddon Councillor Phil Challis (LibDem) explained:
"This is an area where there is a lot of social needs so we need to make sure it is understood that having frequent and reliable bus services is part of having a sustainable community."
Elsewhere Reading Forum has an interesting thread comparing the prices of bus services.

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Update: The cause of Reading Buses is not being helped as bad communications with Thames Water is likely to cause additional disruption when roadworks in Gun Street commence this week.

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Background: Reading Buses In Turmoil

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