THE number of bus trips in Reading increased again last year, with 200,000 more passenger journeys.
Latest Department for Transport figures show that the number of bus passenger journeys in Reading Borough in 2017/18 reached 21.6 million. That bucks the national trend which saw 90 million fewer journeys on buses across England.
By way of comparison, the total number of bus passenger journeys across all five other Berkshire local authorities was 13.7 million.
It is now the 6th year in succession bus journeys have increased in Reading. Since 2011/12 there have been 5.6 million more journeys on buses in Reading – an increase of 35%.
Reading Borough once again sits in third position in the national league table in terms of the number of bus journeys per head of population in England outside of London. The number of bus trips per head of population now stands at 132.7, beaten only by Brighton and Nottingham.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This is now the sixth consecutive year that passenger bus journeys have increased in Reading, while official figures show bus use is falling in other parts of the country.
“Reading Buses is one of the few Council-owned bus companies left in the UK and these latest figures reflect the excellent service the company continues to provide to people in Reading.
“The Council will shortly be embarking on an important public consultation exercise with residents, businesses and neighbouring councils on how Reading will absorb the huge amount of growth over the coming years. Thousands of new homes will create many more commuter trips into and out of Reading, adding to congestion and air quality issues, especially on our key radial routes. We already know Reading Buses will have a vital role to play in the future in continuing to provide a realistic, reliable and sustainable alternative to the private car, and we will be keen to hear of other cost-effective proposals to improve air quality and reduce congestion.”
Robert Williams, Reading Buses’ Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We are delighted that once again we are leading the way for passenger growth in the bus industry.
“We work extremely hard to provide the people of Reading Borough with high quality services – including environmentally friendly buses and added extras such as free WiFi and next stop information. The introduction of our app has also made it even easier for non-users to become bus customers, giving them journey planning, live times and buses and the ability to buy tickets on their mobile.
“We are excited about the future of Reading and how we can help to keep the town moving.”
A total of 4.7million older people and disabled concessionary pass journeys were made in Reading Borough, accounting for 22% of the total journeys, which is exactly in line with the England (outside of London) percentage of 22%.
The full set of annual bus statistics was released on 30th January 2019 at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/bus01-local-bus-passenger-journeys