The Wokingham Paper

Reading Buses announce 33 redundancies to cut service costs

YESTERDAY, Reading Buses announced that up to 33 jobs may be lost due to cost-cutting measures.

The company, like many other businesses, has been hit by the pandemic which saw customer numbers fall to lower than 10% of normal rates. 

But the company said with the Government furlough scheme ending, they are predicting the need to cut jobs.

This could see up to 33 positions in the company at risk – although no driver redundancies are currently expected.There will be a freeze on new recruitment, including apprenticeships, and investment in new buses will also be paused.

Robert Williams, Reading Buses’ CEO said: “Like many others, we have been constantly using the word ‘unprecedented’ to describe the situation we have found ourselves in.  

“With hugely reduced customer numbers and changes to the way we operate, it has been a difficult period to get through.

“Our fantastic team has worked incredibly hard to ensure we could continue to run a service for key workers from the outset, but also that we could scale up later for everyone else, as leisure and tourism centres began to open up.

“However, the industry as a whole is suffering. Once the pandemic is over and things return to normal we expect that some people will continue in their current pattern of using other modes of transport, working from home and internet shopping – all of which will see an ongoing reduction in both customer numbers and revenue.

“If we continue to operate with the same costs whilst waiting for customers to return, it will result in the company no longer being economically sustainable.”

Mr Williams said the company has constructed a plan to reduce costs so that the buses can continue to serve the local area.

He added: “It is imperative that we continue to regain customer confidence so maintaining our current service level is a priority. The environmental impact of using private transport is huge, so we hope that many more customers return to our buses over the coming days and weeks as things return to normal.

“Our buses are clean, safe and good to go for people wanting to return to their commute or access retail and leisure facilities.”

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