Service levels are to be increased by Reading Buses as the government eases more lockdown restrictions.
The extension of services from this Monday (June 1) is also designed to ensure that whilst on board bus users continue to have plenty of space for social distancing. Reading Buses say the ‘great news’ for customers is that timetables will increase on all key routes to around double their current level which the company say should give customers ample space on board.
The new timetables will be at a level roughly between a Saturday and Sunday service, Mondays to Saturdays. Most routes will operate their normal Sunday service – except for bronze 11, purple 17, claret 21 and yellow 26 where the current slightly reduced Sunday service will continue.
There is also good news for the people of Bracknell as the lion 4 returns to support the lion X4.
Said Robert Williams, Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer: “Whilst we are not returning to normal timetables yet, this is the first step towards that.Government advice remains to avoid public transport and therefore customer numbers continue to be very low.
“By starting to increase frequencies we can cater for more customers and keep the number of people on each bus to around 25% of the normal seated allowance.
“There will of course be flexibility to enable people from the same household to travel together so we will have temporary, advisory, seating capacities for each vehicle.
“We will be recommending the best seats to sit in to maintain the strict social distancing. It’s also worth adding that no-one will be allowed to stand when on board except to leave the bus, and even then only once the bus has stopped.
“We have also taken great care to remind customers about the part they play with helpful new notices being displayed on stops and around our vehicles.
“We are asking customers to observe social distancing of two metres whilst waiting to board the bus, to do so one at a time and allow space for people to get off first. “Equally, we are asking them to download our app so that they can see when their bus is coming, minimising their waiting time.
“Using our app also allows customers to pay for their ticket in advance, therefore reducing boarding times. All of our services will continue to operate an exact fare policy if people do need to pay by cash.
“Where possible, we are encouraging customers to wear a face covering when travelling which can take the form of a cloth face mask or a simple scarf. “The company is currently still seeing a reduction in customers of over 85% in spite of slight changes to the lockdown rules in recent weeks. But we are expecting to see an increase in people needing buses from Monday. However, this increase in service is only viable due to the Government funding for bus operators to allow them to run buses that are much emptier than normal.”
He added that full details of the changes to each route, and their timetables, can be found on the Reading Buses website www.reading-buses.co.uk