THE town centre section of Reading's first ever red route will go live on Monday, March 23.

The new section of the ‘no stopping’ restriction is located entirely inside the IDR.

Red route restrictions will run along the far east section of the Oxford Road before its junction with Broad Street, south along St Mary's Butts and on to Castle Street and Gun Street, north along West Street and then east along Friar Street.

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A red route is a 'no stopping' restriction, successfully used on major bus routes in London for many years.

It helps keep key public transport moving, minimises delays for bus passengers and improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists by preventing dangerous or illegal parking.

Keeping buses moving and punctual encourages more people to swap private car journeys for public transport, which improves the town’s air quality and public health, and feeds into the council's Climate Emergency Declaration, which is aiming for a net zero carbon Reading by 2030.

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Reading's red route runs along the length of the ‘purple’ 17 bus route – the town’s busiest and best used bus service – with nearly 5 million individual trips every year and nearly 100,000 trips per week.

When the new central section becomes operational on March 23, it will complete Reading's first red route after eastern and western sections went live in 2018. Sample journey times for the ‘purple 17’ taken on the eastern and western sections already show an average quicker journey time of two minutes.

The red route restriction means where double red lines are marked, vehicles cannot stop at any time – Monday to Sunday – including for short periods of loading or unloading.

Only disabled blue badge holders, Hackney Carriages (black cabs) and private hire vehicles licensed by Reading Borough Council are permitted to stop to allow for boarding and alighting.

Emergency service vehicles will be permitted to stop.

Where single red lines are marked, drivers are able to stop or park, but only in accordance with the signed restrictions.

Importantly, and following public consultation, parking, loading and disabled bays along the route have been retained where it has been possible.

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council's lead councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: "The introduction of a red route along critical sections of the Town Centre will complete Reading's first red route, which is designed to keep buses frequent and reliable on Reading’s busiest bus route.

"Red routes have been successfully used in London for many years to help prevent illegal stopping or parking along busy routes, which disrupts the flow of traffic for buses and for all road users, and which can be extremely dangerous.

"In Reading, evidence shows that number 17 passengers are already benefitting from quicker journey times since the east and west sections of the red route went live in 2018."