A stopping restriction to speed up journeys for the number 17 bus has been made permanent.

Thousands of fines have been handed out to drivers for stopping on the red route in Reading during its trial over the last year.


Introduced in 2018 to speed up journeys across the town for the number 17 bus, councillors agreed to make the west side of the route permanent last night (Wednesday, September 11).

The east side was made permanent in March.

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A red route is a ‘no stopping’ restriction and has been used on major bus routes in London for many years.

Double red lines run along the route, which is between Tilehurst and Wokingham Road (The Three Tuns).

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment and Transport, said the red route scheme could be extended to to other bus routes.

Lib Dem councillor Ricky Duveen questioned the necessity of having the route in Tilehurst, suggesting most of the congestion is Oxford Road.

Officer Simon Beasley said journey times in Tilehurst has improved by around one minute in the area.

Cllr Page added: “The red route is clearly being enforced in Tilehurst; the statistics show it.

“The red route is there to mirror the number 17, Reading’s busiest and most important bus route.

“It is the busiest outside London in South England.”

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All but two members of the Traffic Management sub-committee voted to keep the scheme on a permanent basis.

Councillor Raj Singh objected while Cllr Duveen abstained.

Cllr Singh objected because of complaints from residents on Norcot Road.

Residents handed a petition to the council in March stating the restriction had led to congestion around other roads and children and people with disabilities were having problems crossing.

The council plans to increase surveillance along the route.

A comparison of time taken by the number 17 bus route on three days in 2018 and 2019 suggests the red route has reduced travel times on the number 17 bus by an average of around one minute.

The council said the samples “show promising benefits” but it is too early to make a meaningful assessment.

2,249 penalty charge notices have been issued to drivers since the trial Red Route was put in place.

A large majority, 1,761, were caught on Oxford Road.

259 were caught on Norcot Road, 221 on School Road and eight on Park Lane.

Enforcement has initially focused on drivers pulling up and stopping on the footway.

Drivers caught stopping on the Red Route can receive a fine of £70, reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.