New value for money ‘Reading All-Bus’ day fares coming to buses in Reading
- New discounted ‘Reading All-Bus’ day travel ticket will allow passengers to use several bus companies including Reading Buses, Thames Valley Buses, Arriva and Thames Travel with the same ticket.
- Infrastructure investment in two-year plan to provide faster services with fewer delays.
- Reading received the third highest funding award in the country (per head of population) out of the 31 local authorities across the country to successfully achieve funding.
PASSENGERS in Reading will soon be able to take advantage of the ‘Reading All-Bus’ – a new ‘multi-operator’ day ticket at an introductory lower price – thanks to the Council’s successful bid for Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding.
Once purchased - for an initially reduced rate of £3.50 on bus (or £3.40 from any of the bus companies' Apps) - the adult day ticket will allow travel on all bus services in the Greater Reading Area for the rest of the day. It launches from Monday 13 March.
The ticket will be particularly beneficial in areas such as Caversham where three bus companies provide services and ticket holders will always be able to use the next bus that arrives. There will also be discounted day tickets for young people and groups.
The Council has now received the first year’s instalment of the overall £26,263,600 million funding from the Department for Transport, initially announced in April last year.
The ‘Reading All-Bus’ day travel ticket, which passengers can use across several bus companies including Reading Buses, Thames Valley Buses, Arriva and Thames Travel, is just one of a range of bus improvements the Council’s programme intends to deliver over the next two years.
The ticket builds on the national £2 single bus fare scheme launched in January. The Reading fares scheme provides a greater benefit for Reading residents where fares for regular travellers were already less than £2.
As well as outlining plans for investment in bus fares which extend beyond borough boundary lines to cover greater Reading, the plan lists a number of future ambitions to make bus services in Reading even better. These include:
- Supporting simpler and even more cost-effective fares, including the new ‘Reading All-Bus’ multi-operator day travel ticket;
- Extensions to the Buzz 42 service and South Reading services;
- Developing the Park & Ride service to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and University, as well as enhancing Mereoak Park & Ride itself;
- Bus information and passenger safety improvements, including better bus shelters and Real-time passenger information displays;
- Significant increases in bus priority and the transformation of the bus networks through bus rapid transit and other measures – such as new bus lanes on Oxford Road, Bath Road, Southampton Street and London Road;
- Further phases of the South Reading MRT scheme on the A33 to speed up journey times between Mereoak P&R and the town centre;
- Giving passengers more of a say through the creation of a ‘Passenger Charter’.
For an indication of the routes covered in the multi-operator day travel ticket see the following network map:https://images.reading-buses.co.uk/2022-10/Reading%20network%20map%20MASTER%20sep22%20PROOF%20final.pdf
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: “Securing this £26 million funding is not only excellent news for Reading, for our transport network and for current and potential bus passengers, but also for our environment. The improvements begin this month with our new value-for-money ‘Reading All-Bus’ day travel ticket.
“Our bus services in Reading are already acknowledged as some of the very best in the country with high passenger numbers putting us third in the country for bus trips per head of population and a range of routes and priority corridors which serve existing bus passengers very well and at competitive prices.
“This injection of funding now allows us to work alongside our bus operators and neighbouring councils on initiatives to further enhance the travelling experience. We hope to attract new bus passengers to even faster, more reliable and better-integrated bus services in Reading.
“The level of investment in our already excellent bus services is an essential component of the Council’s wider strategy to create realistic and affordable travel alternatives, improving air quality and building towards our net zero ambitions by 2030. It sits alongside a range of sustainable travel investments by the Council which includes a brand-new railway station at Reading Green Park, opening soon, and a refurbished one at Reading West, as well as key new Active Travel cycle lanes on Shinfield Road and on Bath Road/Castle Hill.”
Robert Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses said, "We are very pleased that the funding has been secured to help make bus services in Reading even more attractive, and are particularly excited about the new infrastructure that will help our customers get to their destination more quickly and comfortably.
“We have worked very closely on the development of an Enhanced Partnership, and will be ensuring that all of the benefits will be reinvested into the services that we provide.”
Luke Marion, Managing Director of Thames Travel said, "We're delighted that Reading has received this important funding and are looking forward to working with the Council and other bus operators to deliver improvements for passengers across the borough. In particular, we know the new ‘Reading All-Bus’ multi-operator day travel ticket is something that many of our existing customers have been asking for, and we believe this scheme will make bus travel a lot more convenient, particularly in the Caversham area."
Reading Borough Council was one of 31 local authorities across the country to successfully bid for Department for Transport funding to develop and deliver its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), which has an integral role to play in helping Reading towards its net-zero carbon target by 2030 by encouraging more people to travel by bus.
Reading received the third highest funding award in the country (per head of population) – with the majority of areas unsuccessful in their bids.
Reading’s Bus Service Improvement Plan was drawn up early last year and is a blueprint for improvements and major investment in Reading’s bus services. It can be found at https://www.reading.gov.uk/BSIP and has been prepared with the active engagement of all local bus operators, including the Council-owned Reading Buses, and all neighbouring local authorities to the Greater Reading urban area.
Notes to editors
The National Bus Strategy was published in March 2021 as part of a £3 billion funding package. It sets out how the Government intends to deliver on its commitment to achieve ambitious and far-reaching reform of the bus services sector. The strategy requires each Local Transport Authority (LTA) to produce a Bus Service Improvement Plan for their area. It also requires all transport authorities, such as Reading Council’s, to establish Enhanced Partnerships as a key element with local bus operators.
Reading’s BSIP was drawn up in early 2022 after the Government committed to investing in local bus services to help patronage recover from the reduced levels of usage as a result of the ongoing Covid pandemic.