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LOCAL TRAVEL WEBSITE
The Local Authority, Reading Borough Council, has en excellent travel website which includes live travel information for most local bus services.
LOCAL BUS SERVICES
Reading Buses operates a comprehensive network of services throughout the Borough of Reading and into neighbouring parts of the Greater Reading Urban Area, such as Woodley, Lower Earley, Calcot, Turnhams Farm and Purley.
Reading Buses also operates route 1 to Theale, Thatcham and Newbury; routes 2/2a to Burghfield and Mortimer Common; route 3 to Shinfield, Arborfield Garrison and Wokingham, and route 4/X4 to Winnersh, Wokingham and Bracknell.
Routes 3, 9, 10 and 19a/19b/19c provide a frequent service between Reading Station and the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Route 21 provides a frequent link between Reading Station and the University of Reading's main Campus, with a bus up to every seven minutes during University term times. This route runs 24 hours a day.
The 'Greenwave' routes provide fast and frequent services (Monday-Friday except late evenings) along the A33 to Green Park and Reading International Business Park. These routes are operated by low-emission buses powered by Compressed Natural Gas.
The 'Greenwave' routes also provide a Park-and-Ride service at Mereoak, just south of Junction 11 off the M4 Motorway (Monday-Saturday; daily from 11th September). A second Park-and-Ride facility is available at Winnersh Triangle, just off the A329(M).
On Match Days, when either Reading FC or London Irish RFC are playing at home, shuttle buses run between Reading Station and Madejski Stadium. Buses start 2 hours before kick-off (last departure 45 minutes before) and return in the hour following final whistle.
Most routes have an evening and Sunday service, and routes 5/6 (Central Reading-Whitley), 17 (Wokingham Road-Central Reading-Tilehurst) and 21 (Central Reading-University-Lower Earley) have a 24-hour service. Also on Friday and Saturday nights late-night buses run from Central Reading to Caversham and Calcot.
Reading Buses has an exact-fare policy; drivers do not give change, except on interurban routes 1, 2/2a, 3, 4/X4 and the 'Greenwave' routes. Day return and all-day tickets are available; and there are 7-day, 30-day, 90-day and annual tickets for regular travellers as well as smartcard-based 'pay-as-you-go' products. Reading 'PlusBus' tickets are also accepted on all local bus services within the Greater Reading area. An m-ticket app for mobile phones commences on 5th September 2016, and there are also plans to start accepting contactless bank cards for payment of on-bus fares.
INTER-URBAN BUS SERVICES
The main routes from Reading are:
Route 1 - Reading, Calcot, Theale, Woolhampton, Thatcham, Newbury. Daily (except late evening). Operated by Reading Buses.
Route 2/2a - Reading, Burghfield, Burghfield Common, Mortimer. Some peak-hour journeys to/from Tadley AWE. Daily; no Sunday service to Mortimer Common. Operated by Reading Buses
Route 3 - Reading, Shinfield, Arborfield, Barkham, Wokingham. Daily; no evening/Sunday service between Arborfield Garrison and Wokingham. Operated by Reading Buses.
Route 4/X4 - Reading, Earley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Bracknell. Route 4 operates within Bracknell via Great Hollands, Birch Hill and Crown Wood. Daily. Operated by Reading Buses.
Route 7 - Reading, Spencers Wood, Riseley, Hartley Wintney, Fleet, Aldershot. Monday-Saturday except late evening. Operated by Stagecoach. Two morning journeys from Reading and two afternoon journeys towards Reading operate as service 8 serving Yateley and Farnborough instead of Hartley Wintney and Fleet. Evening and Sunday journeys between Reading and Riseley are operated by Reading Buses, Stagecoach tickets accepted.
Routes 126/127/128/129 - Reading, Twyford, Maidenhead (Saturdays only), Wokingham. Monday-Saturday except late eveing. Operated by Courtney Buses
Routes 143 - Reading, Pangbourne, Upper Basildon, Whitchurch Hill. Monday-Saturday, infrequent. Operated by Thames Travel.
Routes 800/850 - Reading, Shiplake (800) or Twyford (850), Henley, Marlow, High Wycombe. 800 daily, 850 Monday-Saturday, no late evening service. Operated by Arriva.
Route TR1 - Reading, Basingstoke Road, Grazeley, Mortimer, AWE, Tadley, Baughurst. Monday-Saturday, 4-5 journeys. Operated by TadRed (Morton's). Commences 1st September 2016.
Routes X39/X40 - Reading, Woodcote (X40 only), Wallingford, Crowmarsh, Oxford. Daily. Operated by Thames Travel.
Route X80 - Reading, Shiplake, Henley, Marlow, High Wycombe. Monday-Saturday, no late evening service. Operated by Carousel Buses.
Railair - non-stop express coach service betwen Reading and Heathrow Airport. Daily - see below
LONGER-DISTANCE COACH SERVICES
Operates from Reading Station non-stop to Heathrow Airport,every 20-30 minutes. From Reading coaches set down at Terminal 5, then Terminals 2 and 3. From Heathrow Airport, coaches pick up at Central Bus Station (linked by walkways to Terminals 2 & 3) and outside Terminal 5. Services operate daily from early morning until late evening.
For travel to or from Terminal 4, alight/board at Terminal 5 and use buses 482 or 490 - these operate frequently and are free of charge for travel between the Terminals.
Single, day return and period return (up to 3 months) tickets for the Railair can be purchased in advance from the Railair website for a small discount. The tickets are self-print and are valid for any coach on the date of validity; m-tickets are also now available for downloading to a smartphone. Holders of contactless bank cards may also use these to pay on the coach. The drivers do not accept cash fares or bank cards that do not have the contacless facility, if you wish to pay by these methods you can obtain a ticket at the RailAir lounge in Reading Station, or at the National Express counters in Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station or inside Terminal 5 - tickets purchased at Heathrow Airport will incur a £1.50 booking fee.
National Express services do not come into Reading itself; however a number of services between Central London - South West England and South Wales stop at Mereoak Park-and-Ride close to Junction 11 on the M4 (this is a new stop from July 2016 and replaces the previous stop at Calcot). Mereoak is also served by National Express coaches to and from Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport and Birmingham, with conections at Birmingham for the Midlands, Northern England and Scotland.
There are no ticket issuing facilities at Mereoak; tickets should be purchased in advance, either via the National Express website or at a National Express ticket agent. Some National Express drivers may be willing to sell a ticket if there is room on the coach.
Reading Buses "Greenwave" routes 60 and 62 link Mereoak and Reading Town Centre at regular intervals - new all-day Sunday service commences 11th September 2016.
Reading occupies a strategic position in the UK's rail network, and is supremely well connected for a town of its size.
Reading is one of the busiest stations on the network outside London and Birmingham, and is an important interchange. It has recently been completely rebuilt to cope with the ever-growing number of passengers using the station. The Station is fully accessible, all platforms have level or lift access and there are plenty of staff available at all times to offer assistance.
The Station is also an important interchange for airline passengers, with direct links to Heathrow Airport via the Railair coach (see above) and by train to Gatwick Airport, Southampton Airport and Birmingham International.
Fast trains operated by First Great Western link Reading with London Paddington in 25-30 minutes, every few minutes throughout the day.
First Great Western also operates regular express services over the following routes:
London (Paddington) - Reading - Swindon - Chippenham - Bath Spa - Bristol (Temple Meads)
London (Paddington) - Reading - Swindon - Bristol Parkway - Newport - Cardiff (Central) and stations to Swansea
London (Paddington) - Slough - Reading - Oxford; some trains continue to Worcester and Hereford.
London (Paddington) - Reading - Swindon - Stroud - Gloucester - Cheltenham Spa
London (Paddington) - Reading - Taunton - Exeter (St Davids) - Plymouth - Cornwall (Penzance); trains also serve a variety of intermediate stations and some direct trains run to Torquay and Paignton. Connections available en-route to smaller stations and branch line destinations in Devon and Cornwall.
London (Paddington) - Reading - Theale - Thatcham - Newbury - Hungerford - Bedwyn.
First Great Western also operates stopping services for intermediate stations towards London Paddington and Oxford; to Basingstoke and Newbury; and stopping and semi-fast services to Guildford, Redhill and Gatwick Airport.
CrossCountry trains provide useful links between the South Coast, Midlands and North of England, avoiding the need to cross London by Underground. Trains from Reading run south to Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton and Bournemouth (connections for Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth); and north to Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Coventry, Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds, York and Newcastle. Connections available en-route to other destinations in the Midlands, North and Scotland.
Lastly, South West Trains operate an alternative service to London (Waterloo) via Bracknell, Ascot, Staines, Twickenham, Richmond and Clapham Junction.
South West Trains website (Reading - London Waterloo)
Reading has direct links to the following airports:
London Heathrow - direct RailAir coach.
London Gatwick - direct by train, or by National Express coach from Calcot.
Southampton - direct train to/from Southampton Airport Parkway, which is adjacent to the Terminal.
Birmingham - direct train to/from Birmingham International which has a free shuttle train to the Airport terminal.
There are also indirect links to the following Airports:
Bristol - bus to/from Bristol Temple Meads and train to/from Reading
Manchester - train to'from Manchester Piccadilly then local trains to/from Manchester Airport.
Exeter and Cardiff Airports are also linked to Exeter St David's and Cardiff Central stations by bus, both of which have direct trains to/from Reading
London Luton, London Stansted, London City and London Southend do not have convenient links with Reading and it is not recommended to use these airports for travel to and from Reading.