Reading Buses to cut 33 jobs
Reading Buses is to cut 33 jobs as part of cost saving measures implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company also plans to freeze on new recruitment, including apprenticeships; pause investments in new vehicles and implement new ways of working for existing staff. Robert Williams, Reading Buses’ Chief Executive Officer, said these may not be the only changes needed.
The company says it has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which at one point saw customer numbers fall to lower than 10% of normal. With changes to service levels, the use of the Job Retention (furlough) scheme and some government funding, the company have been able to continue to provide a service for key workers from the start of the pandemic. As restrictions have been eased, increase to a more-or-less normal service today.
However, the government furlough scheme will come to an end and there is no guarantee that people will return to their old routines. The company predicts an uncertain period ahead and has created a plan to ensure it can continue to provide the right level of service for Reading and the surrounding area.
Robert Williams 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 have 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 would result in the company no longer being able to survive.
“It is for this reason that we have constructed a plan to allow Reading Buses to continue to serve the people of Reading and the local area by reducing as many costs as possible.”