U-Turn on changes to trains celebrated in Reading
Having your say can really make a difference. The Council recently celebrated successes in two campaigns where we opposed measures which would have seriously affected rail users in Reading.
The first was a plan to withdraw the one-day Travelcard, used by many of us who take the train into London for work or for pleasure.
Had it gone ahead, the cost of an off-peak adult return fare to Paddington, including zones 1-6 on the Tube, would have increased by 31 per cent to £38.90 – a price rise we could well do without during these times. We joined many other local councils and transport campaigners in lodging an objection to the proposal and, thankfully, Transport for London reversed their decision.
The second proposal we objected to was the plan to close hundreds of ticket offices at railway stations across the country, including our town. At a time when we should be encouraging more people to use public transport, this seemed like a retrograde step.
It would have affected a great number of residents, and particularly those with disabilities, who may not be able to use online booking or ticket machines. We were very pleased when the proposed closure programme was scrapped earlier this month.
These two examples demonstrate the importance of speaking up when given the opportunity to comment on proposals you disagree or, indeed, agree with. In these cases, our voices were heard, and, in my view, the right decisions were made.
In Reading, we’re currently running a public consultation on the Council’s Transport Strategy and are encouraging people to give their views on our ambitious plans for the future. I’m sure there aren’t many people who would argue with our ambition to reduce congestion, tackle poor air quality, and create a healthier town for our residents and visitors. But how we achieve these aims is, naturally, up for debate.
The Council’s vision includes providing even better bus and rail services, improved walking and cycling facilities, and ensuring there are more attractive and affordable alternatives to the private car.
Closely linked to this are proposals to create six new bus lanes around the town to further speed up journeys by bus and improve reliability. We have an excellent bus network in Reading which many people rely on but, unfortunately, journeys can be delayed by traffic congestion, particularly at peak times. Improved bus priority measures on key routes could help tackle that and would, I hope, make the bus an even more attractive alternative to the car.
The limited road space in Reading means any changes have to be carefully considered and, as such, we’re encouraging residents to give us their opinions.
Views on the Reading Transport Strategy 2040 can be given online at: www.reading.gov.uk/RTS2040consultation. And views on the bus lane consultation can be given at: consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/bus-service-improvement-plan-statutory-consultatio/.
Meanwhile, members of our transport team are also in the middle of a series of community drop-in sessions where residents can have their say. The remaining sessions are:
• 16 November: Caversham Library, Church Street, 1-7pm
• 21 November: Whitley Library, Northumberland Avenue, 1-7pm
• 23 November: Palmer Park Library, St Bartholomew’s Road, 1-4pm
So please do take advantage of these opportunities to have your say on these important matters which affect everyone in Reading.
- ^ TFL proposed withdrawal of one-day travelcards dropped (www.readingchronicle.co.uk)
- ^ U-turn on getting rid of train station ticket offices welcomed in Reading (www.readingchronicle.co.uk)