New board to be formed as Reading Transport looks to a bright future

Adverts have just been placed inviting applications for Non-Executive Directors and a Chair of Reading Transport Ltd. This comes at a time when the company looks to build on its past success and adapt in the future to tackle the substantial challenges the Covid pandemic has brought to public transport.

It is the first time that a review of both Non-Executive Directors and Chair of the company has run concurrently. Any current serving non-executive directors are eligible to re-apply, as well as any new applicants.

Award-winning Reading Buses is one of the UK’s premier bus companies. It boasts one of the most modern fleets of single and double deck buses in the country and a long history of industry standard awards. It is also one of just a handful of bus companies in the UK that are wholly owned by a local council, but operationally independent and run on commercial lines.

Over a number of years bus patronage in Reading has bucked the national trend of falling passenger numbers. In fact, pre-pandemic figures show passenger numbers in Reading were the second highest in the UK outside of London. There is no doubt however that the global pandemic has impacted on public transport providers everywhere. 

Reading Borough Council believes the time is now right for a comprehensive review of Reading Transport’s Board, in order to secure new and innovative ideas as well as securing important continuity of experience in order to help Reading achieve its net zero carbon target by 2030 and to tackle the continuing impact of the pandemic on public transport and the ‘new normal’ in terms of the employment and travel environment.

The future success of Reading Transport is additionally vital for Reading and the wider area, as it provides the opportunity to reinvest any surpluses in social and environmental benefits for the town so that everybody can share in its success.  The Council wants to appoint a board that is experienced and qualified for the roles, committed to its values and ambitious for the future of Reading Buses.

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“Reading Buses remains one of the very best bus companies in the UK and, as such, we hope there will be considerable interest in the posts.

“There is no better time to join the board with the development Reading’s public transport plans and the national commitment to investment in bus services.  It is imperative the company builds a sound financial future and is at the forefront of the move to zero carbon and the expansion of public transport. We recognise we need a board with the skills and drive that is focused on future sustainability and innovation, and performs a crucial role in delivering the Council’s environmental and transport aspirations.

“The challenge the pandemic has brought to public transport everywhere is substantial. The need to adapt and for fresh ideas means the time is right for a review of the board. We would expect that this review will bring with it new blood, as well as an element of continuity, and the knowledge and experience that comes with that. We are clear however that all non-executive directors need to bring to the table a core public service commitment which has underpinned Reading Transport’s 100-plus years of service to the people of the town.”

Non-Executive Directors are full and equal members of the Board of Directors jointly responsible for the overall governance and strategic leadership of the company and directing the executive team to ensure the company meets its obligations.