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Free Bus Travel this festive season across West Berkshire

The festive season is upon us and this year you will have even more reason to leave your car at home as free bus travel will be offered again across West Berkshire!

Posted by: Communications team on 09 November 2022 15:44
A photograph of two buses parked at Newbury Wharf Bus Station

Following on from previous successful free travel initiatives over the last year, all bus journeys within West Berkshire will be free all day on the following days in November and December:

You can travel at any time on these days, so why not take the opportunity to go Christmas shopping, look at festive lights, attend the panto at the Corn Exchange, go for a bite to eat in the local eateries, take in some of the outstanding scenery, or do a round of pre-Christmas visits to family and friends. 

Saturday 3 December is Small Business Saturday which is a day many businesses encourage consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their communities. Businesses across West Berkshire will be taking part so why not take advantage of the free bus travel on Saturday 3 December and head out to support all types of small businesses such as bakers, butchers, craft shops or bespoke retailers. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

Want to travel further? Free travel is available to Reading, Basingstoke and Swindon. If you start your journey from anywhere in West Berkshire, your return journey will be free too - just ask the driver for a return ticket when you board.

This initiative has been developed by the West Berkshire Enhanced Bus Partnership, a partnership between West Berkshire Council, Reading Buses, Newbury & District, Thames Travel and Stagecoach. Free bus travel is available on these operators' services and the Council's own Connect buses on the days outlined above, as well as those of Going Forward Buses on 17 November.  

As well as free travel for journeys starting in West Berkshire, operators will also allow passengers to return from places further afield free of charge. Concessionary Bus Passes will still be accepted as normal.

Additionally, the Council will put on a free "Christmas Shopper" service for selected villages around West Berkshire who don't have a bus service on Saturdays starting from 19 November through to Christmas Eve. Further details are outlined below.

Cllr Richard Somner, Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Countryside at West Berkshire Council, said:

"We are really pleased that once again we can offer free bus travel to residents across West Berkshire to travel within the district and across the borders.

"We have taken on board feedback from the previous initiatives and have committed to include further options for free travel to places outside of the West Berkshire borders. For example, passengers who board in West Berkshire can obtain a return ticket to Reading rather than one-way into Reading only from West Berkshire. This same concept applies to other areas for those who wish to travel outside the borders of West Berkshire.

"As the cost of living crisis continues to hit us all this winter, we hope residents appreciate this gesture to not only help with travel costs but also reduce their own carbon footprint with less cars on the road and increase footfall into the local towns and villages and help local businesses who are also facing challenging times."  

Robert Williams, CEO at Reading Buses, said:

"It's great to see the return of the free travel offer in West Berkshire. We've seen great success the previous times the offer has been available, often carrying more passengers in West Berkshire than on the equivalent days before the pandemic.

"The offer also helps promote local businesses, encourages more sustainable transport, reduces congestion on the road and improves air quality. For context, one double deck bus at full capacity can take over 2km of cars off the road."

                                                                             

The full list of routes is as follows: 

Public bus services that operate entirely within West Berkshire: 

Route Number

Operator

Destination

1a/1c

Newbury & District

Newbury to Thatcham

2

Newbury & District

Newbury to Wash Common/Tesco

3

Newbury & District

Newbury to Hungerford

4

Newbury & District

Newbury to Lambourn

5/5a/5c

WBC Connect

Newbury to Downlands Villages - Thursday 17  November 2022 only

6/6a 

Newbury & District

Newbury to East/West Ilsley

8

Newbury & District

Newbury to Tesco, Greenham and Pigeons Farm

9

Newbury & District

Newbury to Racecourse

41

WBC Connect

Theale to Thatcham/Newbury - Thursday 17 November 2022 only

 

The following routes will offer free bus travel in West Berkshire, whatever the destination.  Should you travel beyond the West Berkshire boundary, the return journey back to West Berkshire will be free. 

Route

Operator

Destination

The LINK

Stagecoach South

Newbury to Basingstoke

Jet Black 1

Reading Buses

Newbury to Reading

Lime 2/2a 

Reading Buses

Mortimer/Burghfield to Reading

7/7a 

Stagecoach South

Andover/Burghclere to Newbury

Sky Blue 15

Reading Buses

Theale/Calcot to Reading 

Sky Blue 16

Reading Buses

Purley on Thames to Reading 

Yellow 26

Reading Buses

Calcot to Reading

Royal Blue 33

Reading Buses

Turnham's Farm to Reading

44

WBC Connect

Beenham to Thatcham via Tadley - Thursday 17 November 2022 only

46/48a/X46

Stagecoach West

Hungerford to Swindon

47

WBC Connect

Lambourn to Swindon

103/103a/103b

Newbury & District

Newbury to Greenham Business Park - Thursday 17 November 2022 only

133

Going Forward Buses

Goring to Wallingford via Streatley - Thursday 17 November 2022 only

143

Thames Travel

Upper Basildon to Reading

Free Bus Travel will not be available on the Hungerford to Marlborough service or the 154 service from Beech Hill.

Free "Christmas Shopper" Service

On the six Saturdays before Christmas, West Berkshire Council will be providing a free "Christmas Shopper" service for villages who don't have a Saturday bus service to complement the free travel being offered on public bus routes across the district. 

This service will be available between 9.30am to 4:00pm on each Saturday. It will pick you up from your village and take you to a destination within West Berkshire such as Newbury or Thatcham.

If you wish to travel then you should book by 12 noon on the Friday before the Saturday that you wish to travel. Please ring: 01635 519394 or email: transport@westberks.gov.uk to make a booking. Bookings made after this time are unlikely to be accommodated.

If you already have a bus service on Saturdays then that will be free all day and you would not be eligible to use the "Christmas Shopper" service. 

Below are areas of West Berkshire that we plan to pick-up from on the six Saturdays before Christmas. We can be flexible about pick-up locations and the date of travel so please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

19 November & 10 December 2022

26 November & 17 December 2022

3 & 24 December 20222

Beedon

Aldermaston*

Aldworth

Brightwalton

Beenham*

Ashampstead

Chaddleworth

Bradfield Southend*

Beech Hill

Chieveley

Brimpton*

Frilsham

Fawley

Bucklebury*

Stratfield Mortimer

Farnborough

Cold Ash*

Padworth

Hungerford Newtown

Crookham

Stanford Dingley

Lambourn Woodlands

Southend Cold Ash*

Streatley

Peasemore

Upper Bucklebury*

Sulhamstead

Wickham

Tidmarsh*

Ufton Nervet

Winterbourne

*A special service to Thatcham for the French Market is also available on 10 December from these areas in this column above.

Yattendon

 

Last modified: 11 November 2022 15:10

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