West Berks trials free buses instead of free Christmas parking

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Bus journeys starting in West Berkshire on Saturdays 11 and 18 December will be completely free, and in addition to the free travel for all bus journeys boarded in West Berkshire, participating operator Reading Buses commented that more people on buses will mean less congestion on the roads during the festive period. The scheme, a first of its kind in the Reading Buses network, has been developed in partnership with West Berkshire Council.

Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer Robert Williams said: “This festive offer is intended to support local retailers and minimise traffic congestion by encouraging more people to use the bus. This replaces free parking which has been provided by West Berkshire
Council in previous years. A significant proportion of town centre visitors travel by bus, and with our work to develop an Enhanced Partnership and tackle the climate emergency, changing the Council’s offer from free car parking to free bus travel makes absolute sense. And we believe this will be a significant boon for residents and retailers alike.

“On Saturdays 11 and 18 December all bus journeys starting within West Berkshire will therefore be free of charge. However, we do ask that existing ticket holders and concessionary pass holders still scan their pass as normal. All other free journeys will be logged by the driver to measure the success of the scheme. Customers won’t be issued with a ticket, but can just get on the bus and find a seat – as long as they are in West Berkshire, of course. And journeys can be made to anywhere on the route.

“But, if travelling cross-boundary, for example into Reading, the normal fare will need to be paid on the return journey that starts from outside West Berkshire.”

The free journey offer is valid on any Reading Buses and Newbury & District route within West Berkshire – as well as some other operators’ routes. NEWBURY & DISTRICT