Conditions of Carriage

1) Introduction

Reading Buses, values our customers and will always endeavour to ensure you travel safely and in comfort on a clean, reliable bus service. This document contains the conditions under which we carry you and applies to anyone who travels with us. Our conditions are consistent with the relevant statutory regulations, including those relating to the conduct of passengers and lost property and do not affect your statutory rights.

2) General Conditions of Carriage

We aim to provide a safe, reliable and punctual service but there are occasions when buses or services are subject to delays, which can be outside of our direct control, the factors that can affect the reliability of the services could be: roadworks, diversions, accidents, exceptional traffic congestion, major events, extreme weather conditions and other unforeseen operating circumstances.

We will always take reasonable steps to advise you of any disruption to services. However, in the event of any cancellation, delay, diversion or termination, we shall not be liable for losses, damages, costs or inconvenience either direct or consequential that you suffer as a result. We do not in any way exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury resulting from our negligence nor are your statutory rights as a consumer affected.

3) Conduct of Passengers

We reserve the right to refuse travel to any passenger and may require passenger(s) to leave our buses or premises at any time, should we have reason to believe that their behaviour or personal hygiene jeopardises the safety, security and comfort of others.

When travelling on our services, passengers must not:

  • Talk to the driver whilst the bus is moving, obstruct the driver’s vision or otherwise distract him, except in an emergency.
  • Smoke, vape or use matches, lighters or use anything that produces a naked flame.
  • Behave in an abusive or threatening manner which causes offence to other customers or our staff.
  • Eat or drink anything which generates litter and/or makes the environment unpleasant for other customers or otherwise causes offence.
  • Consume alcoholic substances.
  • Be under the influence of illegal drugs.
  • Play loud music or operate a personal device at a volume which could be considered to be annoying to other passengers.
  • Distribute leaflets, papers or other articles or offer anything for sale or collect for charity without our prior written consent.
  • Interfere with equipment fitted on the vehicle.
  • Deliberately damage or deface any part of the vehicle.
  • Discard rubbish, or other items on the bus
  • Board with any bulky items that would cause the gangway to be blocked or could harm other passengers.
  • Carry dangerous or hazardous substances such as liquid cell batteries, chemicals, open cans of paint, petrol or flammable liquids in any form, explosives, ammunition, weapons or combustible or otherwise hazardous materials. The driver retains the right to deny carriage to any passenger if it is suspected that hazardous goods are being carried.
  • Wear motor helmets, ski masks or any other clothing designed to obscure the face, other than for religious reasons.

Intending customers who, in the opinion of the driver or other company official, appear likely to behave in an antisocial manner, will not be allowed to travel on our services.

Passengers must:

  • Follow the instructions of our employees and act in a manner which shows due regard for the safety and comfort of other customers and company employees, including not standing adjacent to the vehicle entrance, next to the driver or sitting in gangways, on staircases or standing upstairs on a double deck vehicle.
  • Notify the driver if they sustain an injury whilst boarding, travelling on or getting off a bus.
  • Follow the directions of our employees concerning the maximum number of passengers that a bus is permitted to carry. All our vehicles contain clear signage setting out their seating and standing capacity.
  • Always have due regard for the needs of elderly, young and disabled customers and, vacate seats and spaces designed for the elderly and disabled when requested.
  • Present tickets and passes to a driver or revenue protection official when requested to do so.

If you are in breach of these and other statutory regulations you will be obliged to give your name and address to a company official or may be restrained or removed from the bus or our premises by a company officer, a police officer or a community support officer and refused further travel without refund. We also reserve the right to take any other measures we consider necessary to protect the safety and comfort of our customers and staff including temporarily or permanently banning you from travelling with us following an incident of misconduct.


Most of our buses are fitted with CCTV cameras, which record visual data to provide added security for our customers and staff. Appropriate signage will be in place where CCTV is in use. The video recordings are used solely for the monitoring of safety, security, service quality and in support of relevant criminal and civil legal proceedings and complaint investigation. Images of you may be provided to the police, VOSA, the Traffic Commissioner or any other enforcement agency at their reasonable request. Whilst we will do everything we reasonably can to control conduct of other customers, we will not be held responsible for their conduct.

Similarly, some of our buses record audio in the entrance area, for the same reasons, and is treated in the same manner as visual data.

5) Getting on and off the bus

On most routes, buses will pick up and set down passengers at marked bus stops or at the nearest safe point if a bus stop is obstructed. Some routes have designated hail & ride sections, in which case the bus will only stop at a safe place. In certain places, separate stops will be allocated to specific services. If you wish to board a bus, you must give a clear signal in good time to the driver of an approaching bus.

  • At all bus stops, you must give a clear signal to the driver that you wish to board, giving them sufficient time to stop safely at the marked stop.
  • You must not attempt to get on or off a moving bus or a bus which is stationary at a point which is not a designated bus stop such as traffic lights or roadworks etc.
  • You must not attempt to board a bus once it has left its designated stand in any bus station.
  • You must not use the emergency exits on any vehicle except in a genuine emergency.
  • On certain routes, there are no designated bus stops and, in those areas, buses will stop on request where it is safe to do so. You should always pick a point away from parked cars, road junctions etc and give a clear signal in good time to the driver of the approaching vehicle.
  • When you wish to get off the bus, you should ring the bell once in good time to alert the driver.

6) Carriage of wheelchairs, small prams and buggies

Subject to space being available, and at the discretion of the driver, we will carry small prams and unfolded buggies within the designated area. Prams and buggies must not block the aisle of the vehicle at any time. Using the space is on a first come, first served basis and no priority will be given.

The designated space reserved for wheelchair users may be occupied by an unfolded buggy or pram if not required by a wheelchair user, but must be vacated upon request.

7) Carriage of bicycles & mobility scooters

We will not carry bicycles/scooters unless they can be folded and there is sufficient space for them and must not block the gangway or cause a hazard to other passengers. Mobility Scooters cannot be carried unless previously issued with a permit by the company.

8) Luggage

In the interests of the safety and comfort of all of our customers, we restrict the size, type and quantity of luggage or other belongings, which you can bring onto our buses and reserve the right to refuse permission for you to bring any item onto our buses.

You remain responsible for any items you bring. You may not be allowed to travel if, for example, the available space for carriage of luggage is already full or, if, in the opinion of the driver, your luggage or belongings will block gangways and access to emergency exits on the bus. We will not be held responsible for any loss or inconvenience to you if you are refused travel under these circumstances.

We reserve the right to request that you open any article of luggage for inspection by the driver or other company official in your presence if, for reasons of security, it is considered necessary to do so. Fragile items such as electronic goods, portable televisions, computers, radios etc. will only be carried if they are of reasonable size and securely packed. We will not be responsible for damage to such items however caused.

9) Animals

We carry pets and charge a ‘Rover’ ticket which is charged at £1 for the day. Registered guide and hearing dogs or aid dogs will be carried without charge.

10) Lost Property

We do not take responsibility for customers' property onboard our bus services, so we expect customers to take care of their items when travelling.

We will do all that we reasonably can to locate and return any property left on one of our buses to its owner. If lost property is not claimed within one month, we will become the owner of the property and will dispose of it appropriately.

If you find lost property on a bus, you must hand it to the driver. Providing the item is not perishable or objectionable, we will keep it for a month. If you claim any item of lost property, you will be required to satisfy us that the item belongs to you, give us your name and address.

If the lost property is perishable and is not claimed within 24 hours of being found, we will dispose of it as we think fit. If perishable property is, or becomes, objectionable or a health risk before the end of the 24-hour period, we reserve the right to destroy or dispose of it at any time. If the lost property is contained in a package, bag or other container, we may open it and examine it in order to trace the owner or identify the nature and value of the lost property. To check for lost property, you should contact us by email, or telephone our offices between the hours of 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday detailing on which service or route number the item was lost. Contact numbers can be found on our website. Under normal circumstances, you will need to collect the lost property from the Reading Buses depot, or if we agree to post the property back, you will need to pay the cost of postage and packaging in advance. Our arrangements comply with the relevant legislation. Posting any item is at your own risk and we do not take responsibility for any item once it has left our premises. 

11) Fares and Ticketing

Not all Reading bus services issue change to customers. On routes that offer change, we do ask to have the correct fare whenever possible to make boarding quicker. All our fares are shown on our website. On our change giving routes, if the driver has had many customers paying with notes and their change is low, they may refer you to head office to claim the change. We accept contactless bank card payment on all our routes and tickets can also be purchased though our mobile app.

Whenever you board a bus, you must either.

  • Pay the appropriate fare in cash.
  • Pay the appropriate fare using a contactless bank card, Apple Pay or Google Pay
  • Show the driver a valid prepaid ticket, pass or other form of authority to travel for the journey you are making.
  • If using a Reading Buses smartcard or mobile app ticket, place on the reader equipment so that its validity may be checked and your journey recorded

Where you make a payment to the driver, you should ensure that you are given a new ticket issued from the ticket machine which corresponds with the amount you have paid and is valid for your entire journey. You should report to Reading Buses as soon as possible if you tender a fare and do not receive a ticket from the driver.

If our ticket equipment is not functioning properly and therefore is not able to produce tickets, you will not be required to pay for your journey. If the contactless aspect of the ticket machine is not working, you will be asked to pay using cash.

You must retain your ticket, pass or other relevant documentation for inspection by a Company Official on demand throughout your journey. If you are unable to show a valid ticket or pass or you have overridden the fare stage, you will be liable to pay a fare for the journey, which may be a Standard Fare depending on the circumstances. We will not refund you this fare if you later find the missing ticket or other document.

When you complete the journey for which you have paid or the validity of your pass or other relevant documentation expires, you must leave the bus or pay a new fare to your intended destination. It is your responsibility to have a valid ticket for the whole journey.

You are liable to prosecution if you do not hold a valid ticket, pass or other relevant documentation. If a Standard Fare ticket is issued, it will be to the value of £20.00 if paid at the time. This will rise to £40.00 if not paid within seven days.

On routes offering a young persons, student or child rate fare (collectively known as “boost” fares) the driver has the right to ask for identification should they believe the purchaser or ticket holder may be over the age of 18. Customers unable to provide ID at this point will be required to pay the adult fare.
For any boost, youth, student or child tickets purchased via our app, age verification will be required before your purchased ticket can be activated for use. This process can take up 48 hours to complete, and during this time customers are encouraged to purchase boost, youth, student or child tickets from the driver onboard, or adult rate tickets on the app.

Single or return fares purchased on the bus are normally calculated with reference to fare stages. If you board a bus at a location, which is not a fare stage, you will be charged from the previous fare stage. Similarly, if you alight at a location, which is not a fare stage, you will be charged to the subsequent fare stage. In certain areas, several stops may be grouped together as one fare stage.

If you are travelling in areas where zonal fares apply, the number of zones travelled in or through will determine your fare.

You may not break your journey when travelling on a single or return fare unless local publicity specifically advises that this is possible. For some journeys, you may buy a return ticket, which is usually cheaper than two single tickets. Return tickets are usually only valid on the day of purchase, unless clearly advertised otherwise and sometimes have time restrictions as to their validity. It is your responsibility to check the validity conditions of a return ticket. Return tickets should be purchased from the driver of the bus on the outward journey and presented to the driver of the bus on the return journey for validation. They are valid for one single journey in each direction between the same two points.

Period tickets purchased for a period of one day, seven days or longer will expire at 0359 counting from the day after the ticket was purchased (or, in the case of a mobile ticket, from the day the ticket was activated). For example, a 7-day ticket purchased (or activated) at any time on Monday will expire at 0359 on the following Sunday night / Monday morning. Day tickets purchased between 0000 and 0359 will be valid until 0359 the following night.

In circumstances where we are unable to provide the service advertised due to reasons reasonably within our control, our liability is limited to the value of any single ticket paid, or a proportion of the value of the ticket relative to the valid duration of the ticket purchased.  If there is no alternative provision within 60 minutes, we may at our discretion offer additional compensation.  Where we are unable to provide the service advertised due to reasons outside our control, we will try and assist customers, but we are not responsible for any consequential loss.

There is no charge for up to two children under 5 years of age when travelling with another responsible fare paying passenger providing they do not occupy a seat to the exclusion of a fare-paying passenger or are seated in a buggy in an appropriate space on the vehicle. Additional children will be charged as if they were aged five or over. We have a wide range of multi journey tickets. Full details of availability, price, validity and terms and conditions can be found on the ‘Fares and Tickets’ section of  our website.

12) Refunds

When purchasing a ticket from the driver, please check your ticket to ensure it is as you have requested.  Drivers have only a few minutes to cancel a ticket and make a refund or rectify an incorrectly issued ticket. 

If you have purchased a ticket online (smartcard) or through our Reading Buses app (mobile ticket), then we can make a full refund if you subsequently change your mind, so long as the ticket has not been activated or used at all.  To request a refund for an unused ticket, please contact customer services.

If you wish to have a refund on a partially used season ticket, the following circumstances will need to apply at the time the refund is requested:

(i) There must be no further use of the card or ticket.

(ii) There must be at least 3 days of a weekly ticket and 7 days of a monthly or longer period ticket remaining.

The amount of refund will be calculated as the difference between what you paid for your ticket and the cost of daily tickets from the date of application until the expiry of the ticket. There is also a £10 administration fee, so a ticket with a lower value than the administration fee won’t be refundable.  If you wish to claim a refund on a partially used ticket within this guidance, please contact our customer services.

13) Concessionary Travel Schemes

Reading Buses accept all concessionary passes such as elderly and disabled which are issued by local authorities in England (but not Scotland, Wales or the Channel Islands). The terms, conditions and rules applying to these schemes are the responsibility of the pass issuing authority and times of use are determined by the rules of the local authority where the pass holder boards the bus.

14) Complaints

Reading Buses welcomes suggestions and complaints because they help us to improve our services and put things right if they have gone wrong. We want people to contact us rather than just stop using our services. We will handle complaints with tact and consideration and never take them personally. All complaints are investigated, and corrective action is taken to avoid repetition. We will provide a response as quickly as possible and always within 14 days of receipt, even if this is initially to explain what investigation needs to take place and how long this will take. The Bus Appeals Body in England and Wales is a non-statutory committee offering an independent review of complaints arising from the operation of local bus and scheduled coach services. If you are not satisfied with our response, we will always pass on contact details for BAB. If you feel you need to submit a complaint, to enable us to deal with it effectively, please detail, the route number, the time and place boarded or where the incident was and as much detail as possible.

15) Amendments

These conditions apply from 1st July 2023 and replace all previous Terms and Conditions. These Conditions may be amended at any time and any revision will be advertised on this website.

16) Legal Notice

The governing law for these Conditions shall be the Laws of England and Wales and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction. Should any provision of these Conditions be invalid or unenforceable this shall not affect the validity and enforceability of the remaining provisions.

These Conditions constitute the entire agreement between Reading Buses and its customers. None of our employees is entitled to alter or vary any of the provisions of these Conditions. Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 Public Service Vehicle (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990 and Amendment Regulations 1995 and 2002 Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 PSV (Lost Property) Regulations 1978 and Amendment Regulations 1995 Public Service Vehicle (Carrying Capacity) Regulations 1984 and Amendment Regulations 1996.

Reading Buses is the trading name of Reading Transport Ltd, registered in England no 2004963, with registered office at Reading Buses, Great Knollys Street, Reading, RG1 7HH.