Wednesday, 27 March 2013

@reading_buses consultation on bus service changes #rdg

See below for the e-mail I got from Reading Buses consulting on changes to the service. Selfishly a more frequent 17 in the evening sounds good!

Previously Reading Buses have mentioned introducing a £1 ticket from cemetery junction to the town centre. Disappointing though that there hasn't been any progress on this.

What do you think?

Reading Buses

Welcome to our consultation document outlining proposed changes to our buses services starting on 1st July 2013. This is our annual service change, which we have this year brought forward from September to coincide with the opening of the Northern Interchange at Reading Station.

We are looking for your feedback on these proposals. Please send your views direct to Jayne Foster, Customer Champion of Reading Buses before Friday 29th March. This will allow us to take account of everything raised before making our final plans, which have to be registered with the Traffic Commissioner during April 2013 for implementation on 1st July.

Here are the summary proposals, route by route. Please note that we don’t have detailed timetables prepared at this stage – so we are talking about principles of routes and frequencies here.

Routes not mentioned will not be subject to any significant change.

Northern Interchange

The new Northern Interchange opens on 1st July 2013. It will mean that people from north of the river Thames will have much quicker and easier access to the station. In consequence, all Pink routes, plus 27/29 and Vitality 2, will be changed to take account of the Northern Interchange. Buses will call at the Northern Interchange on their way out of Reading, after the stop at Apex Plaza, and on their way into Reading, before coming into town either via Caversham Road (Pink 22 & 24) or via Vastern Bridge, (Pink 23, Shuttle 29 and Vitality 2).

A potential problem is that the diversion through the Northern Interchange adds a few minutes to every journey. On the Pinks we will deal with this by adding an extra bus to the schedule and Vitality 2 has spare time available on most trips, but the 27/29 timetable cannot be made to work in its present form. So we are proposing that all Lower Caversham Shuttles will become 29s which means that Customers from Lower Caversham who wish to travel to Caversham Centre will have to change buses at the Northern Interchange onto Pink 22 & 24 or Vitality 2 and vice versa to go home. We realise that this is not ideal, but the only way we can do it given the fact that there will no longer be time to do two round trips as we do now in each hour. A possible alternative would be for the 27/29 service to remain as at present, but that would mean it would not serve the Northern Interchange. We need to know what you think about this, please.

West Reading, Tilehurst & Purley

There has been quite a lot of change in the routes and times of buses in this area over recent years. This is because buses are generally not well-used in these outer areas. We have also had significant disruption to the Royal Blue 33 for many months last year, which gave us experience of a completely new route, along Little Heath Road. Recently we have been surveying the use made of buses in the Westwood Glen area and in Turnham’s Farm. In both cases, it is very low indeed and we propose to make the following changes to take this into account and to improve our offer:

Sky Blue 15 will retain its current frequency but will not operate further west than Tilehurst. It will terminate in Tilehurst by going round a loop comprising St Michael’s Road, School Road and Mayfair. The evening and Sunday service will be between Central Reading and Dee Park only.

Sky Blue 16 will be increased in frequency to every 15 minutes during the daytime along its entire length between Central Reading and Purley. This doubles the existing frequency between Overdown Road and Purley,

Sky Blue 16a will cease to operate and alternative provision for Chapel Hill will be made by diverting the Royal Blue 33 as below.

Royal Blue 33 will maintain its 15-minute frequency throughout but may be diverted away from Turnham’s Farm. The reason for this is that little use is made of buses in Turnham’s Farm and some residents have raised concerns about the ability of the highway to handle the present bus traffic. This is currently the subject of a residents’ ballot. A recent survey of the use of buses in Turnham’s Farm showed an average of 1 passenger per journey, and stops in City Road (33) & the Water Tower (17) are close by.

However, the lengthy period last year when the Royal Blue 33 was diverted via Little Heath Road has demonstrated that there is a demand for a service along that road. So the new Royal Blue 33 route could involve buses making an anti-clockwise loop from Lower Elmstone Drive, turning right into Chapel Hill, then continuing via Little Heath Road, City Road and Hildens Drive back into Lower Elmstone Drive.

Evening and Sunday services will continue to be provided by Royal Blue 33, running round its current loop from Tilehurst via City Road, Hildens Drive and Lower Elmstone Drive.

South Reading

We’re proposing to make the experimental reverse routing of Red 9 from Shinfield Road permanent, as this change seems to have worked well and has reduced delays at what used to be the Maidens junction. In addition, we are going to add some time to the early morning journeys on Red 9 on weekdays, as these struggle to maintain the current schedule.

Purple 17

Since we improved the daytime frequency on Purple 17 to every 7/8 minutes last September we have been rewarded by a very significant increase in patronage, so we propose to improve the weekday evening service to every 15 minutes and the Sunday daytime frequency to every 10 minutes.

University & Lower Earley

After a lot of careful deliberation, involving a public meeting hosted by the Maiden Erlegh Residents Association we have decided to leave the Claret routes more or less as now for the 2013-2014 Academic Year, albeit with some minor improvements to the schedule to allow for better reliability at busy times. Note that in the summer holiday period (1 July – 2 September inclusive) the service on routes 20 and 20a will be hourly as it now is on Saturdays, with the 21 every 15 minutes. We propose to add additional Sunday evening journeys on the 20 between Reading Station and the University, to improve the service for the many students who return to the University at the end of the week-end.

Summer Holidays

This year the summer holiday period for timetables will run for nine weeks from 1st July to 2 September. Slightly reduced timetables will be operated on routes 5, 6, 9, 17, 20/20a, 21 & 26.

Please make any comments in writing to Jayne Foster, our Customer Champion, or by letter to her at: Reading Buses, Great Knollys Street, Reading RG1 7HH, providing any feedback you may have on the above before 5 April 2013.

Thank you very much

James Freeman

Chief Executive Officer 15 March 2013

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