A guide to travelling in Reading

A bus stop on Whiteknights campus.

With a new academic year starting in September, and new students coming to the  University for the first time, you may be wondering what it will be like to travel around Reading and how much it will cost (to plan it into your budget). You may want to know how to save money on saver tickets and where to find more information about routes and prices. You may also want to hear about sustainable travel in Reading and what the University offers, or information about the train station and how to get there.  

Travelling by bus  

Firstly the most common way to travel is using Reading Buses. Check out their website for information about routes, fares and tickets. You can also download the Reading Buses app which allows you to buy online tickets (including Boost tickets) which work via QR Code.  

The bus that drives through the University campus at Chancellor’s Way is the Claret 21 (and Claret 21a during term time which goes from the Uni to the town centre). The bus is purple and the bus stops it uses have a clear purple sign with Claret 21 ‘to Reading Station’ written on them. This makes it easy to spot which stops it uses, especially in the town centre (where the train station ‘Reading Station’ is located).   

You can check the 21 route online to find your nearest stop. The whole route runs from Lower Earley (where an Asda is located), runs through the University, and ends at Reading Station (the train station in the town centre), before circling back. It can be handy to familiarise yourself with the route before coming to Uni, but the information is always available so no need to worry about getting lost! You can also use the ‘journey planner’ on the app to check the times the bus arrives at each stop and how long it’ll take to get to where you want. This bus also runs 24/7 which is useful for students!  

Another positive of using Reading Buses is that University students can get discounts using ‘Boost’ tickets. You can buy single tickets for £1.80, and all day tickets for £3.20.  Please note from the 15 September 2023 you can no longer buy Boost tickets on the bus; Boost tickets need to be purchased on the app or via smartcards.  

 For those of you who travel more often, you can check ‘advance fares’ on both the website and app to see what would suit you most. If you are travelling somewhere that isn’t included in the Claret 21/21a route, all Reading Buses use the same tickets and ticket types so you are not solely limited to the University bus.   

The most useful route for me has been the Claret 21/21a, as this goes to the town centre (which takes about 15 minutes), where The Oracle and Reading Station (train station) are located. There are also a few grocery stores in the town centre, as well as plenty of places to eat. Plus you can get to the London Road Campus using this bus.  

Don’t forget there’s also the train station in the town centre if you want to travel outside of Reading, you can go from Reading to London Paddington in as little as 23 minutes!  

 Cycling to University  

Finally another mode of transport you may wish to consider is cycling if you’re aspiring to be more sustainable. The University has information on sustainable travel by cycling on the Sustainability website. There are Dr. Bike sessions where a mechanic will check and fix your bike for free (unless parts are needed). There is also information here about hiring or loaning a bike, or you may be interested in purchasing a second hand bike.   

There are plenty of available modes of transport all around Reading, with lots of accessible information online, so you never have to worry about getting lost! It can be a bit daunting to think about travelling on your own in a new place, but you will quickly grow familiar with Reading and find out travelling is very simple. As being sustainable is extremely important, taking the bus or walking/cycling is always preferable, as this produces less carbon than travelling by car.  

You can find out more about sustainable travel on the Sustainability website, or check out our ‘Sustainable travel at Reading’ blog.  

So what can you do now? You may want to familiarise yourself with the buses and routes in Reading, think about your preferred mode of travel and plan it into your budget. You could also download the Reading Buses app before coming to the Uni to get to know how the app works.   

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