Operator-wide ticketing part of Reading BSIP funding

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Thames Travel, Reading Buses, Arriva and Thames Valley Buses are all taking part in the new scheme. READING BOROUGH COUNCIL

From Monday 13 March, passengers in Reading will soon be able to take advantage of a new multi-operator ‘Reading All-Bus’ ticket thanks to the Council’s successful bid for Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding. Available initially at a reduced rate of £3.50 on board (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. The scheme’s partners say that the new ticket will be particularly beneficial in areas such as Caversham where three bus companies provide services, so ticket holders will always be able to use the next bus that arrives. There will also be discounted day tickets available for young people and groups.

The Council has now received the first year’s instalment of its overall £26,263,600 funding from the Department for Transport, initially announced in April last year. As well as outlining plans for investment in bus fares which extend beyond borough boundary lines to cover greater Reading, the Council’s plan lists a number of further future ambitions to make bus services in the city even better. These include developing the park & ride service to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and University, as well as enhancing the Mereoak park & ride site itself; improving information and safety, including better bus shelters and real-time displays; increases in bus priority and the introduction of bus rapid transit and other priority measures; and giving passengers more of a say through the creation of a ‘Passenger Charter.’

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: “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.

Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses Robert WIlliams added: “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.”

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 BSIP, and received the third highest funding award in the country per head of population.