Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions, which we hope you will find helpful when planning your journey and using our buses – if you have any further questions, please contact us.
Where can I find my bus timetable?
To find your route, click on 'routes and times' in the main navigation at the top of the website. This then lists out all our routes so you can find the one you need. Once you click into the route you need, you will see your timetable which can be viewed in a few different ways.
You can toggle between 'all stops' or 'main stops' - all stops allows you to see every stop so you can easily find the time for your specific bus stop. Main stops gives you a few important stops - usually that service's 'timing points.' You can then also change the day to get an absolutely accurate timetable for the day you will be travelling - this also includes bank holidays! If you just want to see a printed standard timetable, you can click on the PDF timetable link.
On these pages, you will also see a map of your route with stops that can be clicked to see the latest live bus arrivals.
You may have heard the term 'timing point' when discussing bus stops. A timing point is a designated stop where the bus has been registered to depart from at a specific time. Buses should never depart a timing point before their allocated time. Timing points help drivers regulate their service if the traffic is less than expected or they haven't picked up as many people as other journeys. Some journeys in light traffic may see buses waiting at timing points for around 5-10 minutes.
Most stops are just normal bus stops - so the buses have an estimated time that they should depart from, but are not obliged to wait time at these stops if they are running slightly ahead of schedule. Our timetables are built in such a way that buses should not run more than a few minutes ahead of schedule even in light traffic. Once buses then get to their next timing point, they will wait any remaining time before departing.
Generally speaking, all 'major' stops on the website, app or in the printed timetables are timing points. It's worth checking to see if your stop is a regular bus stop or timing point - we would recommend getting to a normal bus stop in plenty of time before the publicised departure, whereas you should be able to get to a timing point at the time the bus is due to depart. However, why not be certain of where your bus is by downloading our app complete with bus tracking?
Where can I find my fare and ticket options?
We have more ways to pay on bus than just cash! How much your fare is will depend on a number of things; where you are travelling to/from, if you are buying on the day or in advance and whether you use cash, our app, contactless or our smartcards!
We have a flat fare in the simplyReading area, which means however many stops you travel, you always pay the same amount. Outside of Reading, our routes use a graduated scale meaning you pay depending on how many stops you travel. We are hoping to introduce a fares calculator soon to help you find the exact fare for your journey.
If you are travelling a lot with us, then it's always better to buy your tickets in advance. Click here for the options and prices.
If you don't know how often you will travel with us, or you are just trying us out, then you can buy on the day. Click here for information and prices.
Where’s my bus?
Sometimes our services get stuck in traffic, have more people getting on than we expect or are otherwise delayed. We know it can be frustrating when this happens, especially if it's a miserable, rainy day! Our fantastic control room team use all information at their disposal to update you via social media when our services are affected by delays, but we appreciate that this sometimes gets lost in the midst of other updates on your feeds!
There is also a way you can check where your bus is without the need to contact us - download our app! You can check your stop for the live arrival times and then click through to see the bus moving in real time on a route map. This gives you the peace of mind to not only see the estimated arrival time at your stop, but you can also then check to see where the bus is in relation to you! Find out more about our amazing app.
If you think you have lost something on our bus, you can contact our friendly customer services team who will help try and locate it.
Please phone us on 0118 959 4000. Try to give us as much information as possible about what you lost, where you lost it, which bus number and the date and time. We will do our best to return your property to you.
If you find something, please wait until the bus stops at a bus stop and then inform the driver and give the item to him or her for safe keeping.
All lost property is kept for 30 days before either being donated or recycled - perishable items will be kept for 24 hours unless we are contacted within that period, but, depending on the item, we reserve the right to dispose of it on health and safety grounds. We will destroy unclaimed bank cards after this time. Where there is information about an owner of an item, we will do our best to try and contact that person, but cannot promise that attempts will be successful - it is your responsibility to check with us if you think that you have lost something on one of our buses.
real time explained
One of the big questions we get asked is how our 'real-time' or 'live bus tracking' system works and how accurate it is!
All of our buses are fitted with trackers that are linked to the ticket machines. This means that not only does the bus know where it is on the road, but also where it should be and at what time. This information is then used by the electronic displays at bus stops, our app and our website.
The system uses its location on the road and then predicts how long it will take to run along the route based on the 'normal' scheduled journey time. If your bus is running late, then the prediction will obviously not match the scheduled arrival time!
On our app, website and at stops, you may see a slight difference in how the live times are displayed. Generally speaking, if you see a time (e.g. 15.43) then the bus is not tracking and is showing the scheduled time only. If you see a number of minutes, then this is 'live' and showing that the bus is tracking and thinks it is that number of minutes away from your stop. If a bus is being tracked, the time will count down until the bus arrives (e.g. 5 mins).
When a bus gets within a predicted two minutes (or rather 120 seconds) of the stop, it will move to 'due' to ensure that you do not miss the bus - if the display says one minute, then you have a whole 60 seconds which can be the difference between catching the bus or just missing it!
The system does try and anticipate traffic, but obviously has limitations. If your bus is not counting down, or goes up, it could be that your bus is stuck in stationary traffic. An easy way to check is to download the app and see if your bus is moving along the route - if it isn't then it's probably stuck!
Are all your buses fully accessible?
All Reading Buses journeys are normally operated by low-floor, wheelchair-accessible buses. We are committed to extending access to all passengers, especially for those who find steps difficult and those with disabilities. All buses have an entrance ramp and many can be lowered to the kerb to allow you easier access to the bus, just ask the driver to “deploy the ramp” or “kneel the bus”. Each bus can normally carry one wheelchair in the dedicated space, and wheelchairs must be secured and have the brake applied while the bus is moving. Wheelchair users have priority over all other passengers in using the dedicated space – please ask the driver if you need any assistance.
What service runs on public holidays?
To make sure you can get about on bank holidays, most services run either a Sunday service or a specific public holiday service. Each timetable will tel you what applies so please check them for details. A special timetable normally runs on Easter Friday (as it falls outside of the usual Bank Holiday Monday pattern) and there are always special timetables over the Christmas period. On Christmas Day no buses will run.
Do children go free?
Children under 5 years of age may accompany any fare paying customer (adult or Boost) free of charge. A fare paying passenger may have up to 2 under-5s travelling with them for free - any additional children will be charged at the appropriate Boost rate.
Can I take my dog?
Yes, dogs are welcome on all Reading Buses with a Doggy Rover Day Ticket, which allows unlimited travel on our simplyReading network that day for just £1. Guide dogs, hearing for the deaf dogs and accessibility dogs all travel free. Other small pets may be carried (they are not allowed on the seats) at a charge of £1. For your own comfort and theirs, we recommend that you travel off-peak whenever possible.
How can I pay for my journey?
You have many options to buy your ticket, which are:
- Pay cash - you will need the correct change for your journey
- If you don’t want to carry cash you can get a cashless smartcard to put money or tickets onto. Get more information on how to get a smartcard.
- Tickets on your mobile ('mTickets') - download the Reading Buses app and you can buy a number of tickets to travel on our buses. Click here for info.
- Contactless - we now accept contactless payments on all our buses. Simply ask for your ticket from the driver and pay by tapping your card on the reader.
It’s a good idea to keep your ticket or smartcard throughout your journey as proof of payment, in case a ticket inspector gets on the bus. Find out more about how to buy here.
Am I entitled to free travel?
Reading Borough residents whose sixtieth birthday is on or before 5 April 2010 (date of birth on or before 5 April 1950) are entitled to a pass allowing free travel on all local buses in the Reading urban area between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and at any time on weekends and bank holidays, from the date of their sixtieth birthday.
Reading Borough residents whose sixtieth birthday is on or after 6 April 2010 (date of birth on or after 6 April 1950) should use the Government's 'State Pension age calculator' to check when they become eligible for a concessionary bus pass. A link to the 'State Pension age calculator' is provided below. Once eligible, applicants will be entitled to a pass allowing free travel between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and at any time on weekends and bank holidays, on all local buses in the Reading urban area.
In addition to travel on all local buses in the Reading urban area, your concessionary bus pass will allow you free travel on local buses anywhere in England between 9:30am and 11:00pm on weekdays and at any time on weekends and bank holidays. Some local authorities may allow travel outside these times - please check with the local authority in which you are travelling to be sure.
Disability Bus Passes
This entitlement applies to Reading Borough residents who cannot hold a driver's license on medical grounds or who suffer from certain disabilities, including blindness, deafness and disabilities which seriously impair the person's ability to walk. If you hold a concessionary bus pass on disability grounds, you may use your pass at any time on weekdays, weekends and bank holidays and you may also be able to travel for free on Readibus if you meet their eligibility criteria. If you you are accompanying someone with an eligible disability, you may also qualify for free bus travel within the Reading urban area as a companion.
In all cases, if you think that you are eligible for free travel, then please contact the local council for the area you live in.
terms and conditions
You can find out more about some of our policies by clicking here for our terms and conditions.
Can I make suggestions or comments on your services?
We continually strive to provide you with a high standard of service. Your suggestions and ideas will help us to improve your local bus service. We try to take your suggestions into account where possible. Safety, comfort, reliability and customer care are our top priorities. To help us to achieve the highest standards, we welcome your feedback and suggestions regarding all aspects of our services. Occasionally, things may go wrong, sometimes because of matters outside our control. We want to hear about these things so we can take appropriate action. If you contact us when something is not right, then we have an opportunity to put it right. Find out how to contact us.
If you are dissatisfied with the response you receive to your comments about our service, you may raise the matter with Bus Users UK, PO Box 119, Shepperton TW17 8UX, tel 0300 111 0001, email [email protected].
Bus Users UK is a partner in the Bus Appeals Body (BAB), a non-statutory body with bus operator and consumer representatives. The BAB will advise all parties whether a complaint is justified and will recommend appropriate redress.
You may also contact the Traffic Commissioner for the Western Traffic Area. This is the statutory regulator for the bus industry, who can be contacted by writing to:
The Administrative Director, Western Traffic Area, 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6EH
Tel: 0117 900 8577