Riding Double Deckers in Reading

Claire Turner is a student at Indiana University Bloomington and an ISA Featured Blogger. Claire is currently studying abroad in Reading, England on an ISA Fall 1 program.

An iconic red Double Decker bus!

The first find on this sixteen part adventure was the iconic Red Double Decker Bus.  This one wasn’t difficult to get at all because these buses are everywhere. Not all of them are red, but when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Since I don’t have any cool stories about Double Decker buses I can’t add it to this post. But what I can share is lessons I have learned thus far about the bus system(in Reading since that is where I actually take the bus).  The bus system in Reading is quite nice.  Now coming from the Indianapolis bus system, any public transport would be quite nice, wouldn’t it?

During the week the buses run very regularly and the wait is not long at all. From the Reading Campus you’ll be taking either the 20, 20a, or 21. The stop you will want will depend on where you are going, but the maps are all really easy to read and the bus always gives you a heads up as to which stop is coming up.  Normally, when coming back into campus you will be getting off at “White Knights House Stop.”  All three of the aforementioned buses go into town, but I always tend to end up on the 21…. but I mean whatever bus floats your boat(more accurately whichever bus you actually need to use). On Saturdays the buses are still pretty frequent so you won’t be stranded. Sunday, however, you may end up waiting at least 20 minutes if not more(my friends once had an hour wait so just be prepared).  On each stop they have the timetables, but the lesson I learned the hard way: the times listed are not for all the buses. The schedule has the bus number to the left of the time. Yes I felt like an idiot when I figured this one out, and feel like even more of an idiot re-admitting this fact.

So the breakdown is as follows:

Single Trip(One Way): £1.80
Return Trip(Round Trip): £3.40
Day Pass: £4.00
14 Day Pass: £14.00

Now here is a tip straight from me to you: the Reading buses have this deal going called “Solo Passes.” Basically a discounted price for those under 19.  The fares for a Solo Pass are:

Solo Pass(Under 19)
Single Trip: £1.30
Return: £2.20
Day Pass: £2.20
14 Day Pass: £11

When you ask for a Solo pass they are not supposed to ask for ID or anything. Just give you the solo fare.  I have only had one bus driver challenge me on this, and that’s because he apparently had no soul and hated anything happy.  Not only has this saved me a lot of money so far on bus fare, it causes me to forget that I am getting old and I feel young again. For some reason these Brits think I am really young and it. is. AWESOME.  There are bus passes available that you can buy for the term, but it isn’t really that great of a deal.  I believe I was told that in order for the pass to be worth it you needed to ride the bus at least four times a day.  Instead, see how often you actually use the bus.  If you use it a decent amount (but not four-times-a-day) opt for either the day pass or maybe even the 14 day pass.

The buses are pretty easy to understand and use, and after the first couple times you get the hang of it. It helps to go with a friend for multiple reasons. Safety is a big one and two heads are, in fact, better than one. However I find it most useful to go in groups because then there is equal responsibility for any stupidity. The blame is shared. If you are stuck and have no idea what is going on, just ask. Most of the bus drivers are really helpful (except for the one previously mentioned who is lacking a soul) and will gladly help you with any questions you have.  My only other suggestion is that you ALWAYS go to the top floor because how often do you get to ride on the second floor….of a bus???

1 down, 15 to go!!!!!


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