Keeping you safe in 2021

4 months ago Wed 6th Jan 2021

England may be in lockdown, but we know many of you will still need to get to work, do your food shopping and other essential journeys. We are committed to ensuring you can get to where you need to go in comfort and safety. The information below tells you what you need to know when travelling with us.


We are currently running our full, normal, timetables for every service. Where we have service changes, these will be communicated on the front page of our website, through our social media channels and using on-board bus screens. At any point, you can check the electronic timetables for your service on our services page here or on the timetables tab on our app.  

our current measures 

We have always worked hard to make our buses more inviting to both regular and casual users, and although the current situation is definitely abnormal, we want to continue this.

Keeping our customers safe helps to keep our employees safe and vice versa. Even some small measures can have big results in helping to limit the spread of the virus.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do is to constantly remind everyone that they still should only be travelling when necessary - and to not travel if feeling ill.

We've outlined all the things we are doing, as well as some things that you, our lovely customers, can also do to help with to ensure we are all doing our part to make sure everyone can travel safer.

cleaning and sanitising

  • We enhanced our daily vehicle cleaning with extra attention paid to frequently touched areas, such as bells and hand-poles, to ensure they are regularly sanitised to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
  • We have hand sanitiser units on every bus for both customers and drivers to use. These will be filled up every day (supply permitting). Please note, this will be an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • We also encourage you to wash your hands before leaving to get the bus and once you get to your destination.
  • We're also protecting our employees, with regular sanitising of the drivers' cab area and, from the start, we supplied personal hand sanitisers to all front-line employees, as well as giving them access to refill points.

facial coverings

  • As per the government's guidance, from Monday 15 June 2020, you must wear a face covering when travelling with us. This can be a homemade mask or a simple covering such as a scarf.
    • Please note, if you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering, you can still use the bus without one and there are other exemptions.  For the full guidance on face coverings and buses, click here.
  • When wearing face coverings, remember to not touch your face or adjust the covering until you are off the bus - and to wash/sanitise your hands before you do.
  • We have also supplied all our frontline employees with packs of reusable face masks for them to use if they wish, but the new guidance indicates that our drivers do not have to wear a facial covering - especially as they are separated from customers by a screen.
  • You can buy Reading Buses branding face coverings, with the profit going to charity, here

contactless payment methods

  • We strongly recommend that you pay for your travel by using our mobile app - you can buy your ticket in advance and then scan it as you board - the extra benefit of this is that it is the quickest way to board the bus limiting your time with the driver. You can also pay by contactless bank card or smartcard instead of cash to help limit the potential spread of the virus. There are signs on the drivers' cab door to remind you of these payment methods.
  • Where possible, we are using buses with cash hoppers to remove the need for drivers to have to handle money - if you have to pay by cash, you must drop the exact change in the hoppers - none of our services give change.

social distancing - on and off bus

  • With social distancing expected to remain in place for a while, reduced seating capacity (currently 25% on all buses) remains, however, the “one metre plus” guidance means that with low rates of infection in most communities, the mandatory wearing of face coverings, and the short nature of many journeys, we can now allow the unmarked rows of seats to be used as well, up to 50% capacity.
  • The busiest times of the day currently are 7am-9am and 3pm to 5pm during school term times and 3pm to 5pm when schools are shut. For most of the day, our buses have ample capacity, but if you can travel outside of those times, we recommend that you do so.
  • We are monitoring all journeys and using spare buses and drivers where possible to ensure that you can still travel on time and in maximum safety with full two metre distancing. To help with this, there are some things you can do:
    • Please make sure you sit near the window and avoid sitting directly in front of, or behind, anyone else - if someone is sat by the window in front of you, please sit on the aisle seat and vice versa. 
    • People from the same households can obviously travel, and sit, together - but please be mindful of others.
    • If you are able to go upstairs on double deck buses, please do so to allow more vulnerable customers to get a seat downstairs
  • You will not be able to stand on the bus anymore - please only stand to get off when the bus has come to a complete stop and allow others time and space before moving.
  • When waiting for the bus, please remember to queue two metres apart from others - there are signs on stops reminding you of this
  • Please allow people space when getting on or off the bus - if you are getting on, let people off first with plenty of space and board one at a time, giving the person in front time to board.
  • We have prioritised buses fitted with screens in the drivers' cabs and have fitted temporary screens on those that don't already have them.
  • To help keep our drivers safe and healthy, we have cordoned off the closest seats to the driver’s cab. This is to ensure that they feel safe and able to maintain social distancing as much as possible.
  • We are also monitoring all journeys to ensure that we can keep buses on time, and allow spacing on board - including amending timetables to help. There will also be spare buses and drivers available to help run 'duplicate' journeys if we feel a particular trip is too full and needs help.
  • There will also be monitoring of journeys so that we can communicate full buses via Facebook and Twitter, to help you plan future journeys and avoid the busier times and be more sure of getting a seat straight away. You can help by reporting how busy your bus is via our app - find out how here.
  • If a bus is full, you will not be to board unless the driver thinks that you fall into the category of a 'vulnerable' person. If you are not allowed to board, you will have to wait for the next bus - and the driver will radio our control room to let the next bus know that people are waiting. However, if it is the last bus on that route, the driver will let you board even if the bus is full. 

wheelchair users

We would like to reassure any wheelchair users that our buses are still there for them. Our drivers have face coverings and gloves to ensure that they can leave the drivers' cab safely and still deploy the ramp for you as normal. 

Rest assured that we will continue to do as much as we can to keep everyone safe, and ensure that we are still running buses for everyone in the future.