READING Buses are geared up to welcome back more customers as non-essential retail and some leisure facilities reopen from April 12.

Jake Osman, Reading Buses' Marketing and Communications Manager, said: “We are delighted to be planning the return of many of our customers who have rightly been staying at home during the current lockdown.

“Before the latest lockdown we saw customer numbers rise to around 40-45 per cent of normal so we would expect to see the same sort of increase this time around too from April 12.

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"As non-essential retail shops reopen and restaurants and pubs serve people outdoors, it gives people more of a reason to get out and about again and we have been here, ready and waiting to help out."

He added: “To help make sure we have enough capacity to allow for the one-metre plus social distancing on board, we are reinstating the services which were previously suspended – so Green Line 702 and Winnersh Triangle park & ride will resume; and ruby 10, greenwave 50 and Mereoak park & ride will return to their normal Monday to Friday timetables as they are currently running to their Saturday times during the week.

"We are also putting the leopard timetables back to their full levels – giving customers three buses an hour to Arborfield and three buses an hour to Spencers Wood."

There will be various measures in place to keep people safe including enhanced cleaning regimes, free sanitiser on all buses and capacity capped at 50 per cent.

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Face coverings must also be worn for the duration of journeys and customers are urged to pay contactlessly using the app, a smartcard or bank card.

Reading Buses, the parent company of Courtney Buses, also announced that Courtney Buses will be renamed Thames Valley Buses.

The buses officially changed their name on April 5 but transition will take place over a longer period as the company name is changed in all the places it appears.