Free bus travel to support Christmas shopping

Published: 10 December 2021

Bus travellers in West Berkshire have an early Christmas present.

For bus journeys starting in West Berkshire on Saturdays December 11 and 18 will be completely free.

In addition to the completely free travel for all bus journeys boarding in West Berkshire (with the exception of services to Marlborough and Swindon), it will also mean less congestion on the roads.

The scheme has been developed by West Berkshire Council in partnership with Reading Buses, Stagecoach Hampshire and Thames Travel.

Councillor Richard Somner, Executive Member for Transport at West Berkshire Council said:

"In line with our environmental objectives we've switched our usual Christmas incentive from free car parking to free bus journeys.

"Residents will still have an incentive to get in and support our town centres, while also reducing pollution and protecting the environment.

"We're pleased to be working with transport companies to make this happen together for the benefit of local residents, retailers and, of course, the climate."

Chief Executive Officer Robert Williams at Reading Buses 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 December 11 and 18 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, Newbury & District, Stagecoach and Thames Travel routes within West Berkshire - as well as the Council's own bus service between Lambourn and Upper Lambourn.