MAN A22 / Wright Meridian
Planned expansion of the Vodafone network from February 2008 led to a requirement for two additional single deckers. A 15-month lead time for Scania vehicles similar to those already in the fleet meant that MAN chassis were specified instead. The vehicles are amongst the first MAN chassis to have Wright bodywork - named Meridian, and have fleet numbers 51/2. Neither ever wore any lettering or branding on their plain red livery.
51 arrived in Reading on 25th March to be prepared for service, and 52 likewise by 9th April (probably on 8th). Both were delivered to Newbury on 8th May with 51 carrying fleet number 52 in error.
52 is seen below on 30th May 2008:
Following Vodafone service reductions from 31 August 2010, the pair were made redundant on account of their non-standard chassis but were reprieved due to heavier than expected loadings on the revised network. During this period they started to see occasional service on ordinary Newbury routes, including 51 on The Link on 18th September 2010 as seen below:
51/52 were returned to leasing company Santander at the end of March 2011, being replaced by Scanias 1029/30 from the Reading fleet to help standardise the operation. They passed to Webberbus, Taunton in Octover 2011 wearing dealer white with Reading fleet numbers above the rear windows! Both are seen below on 14th November 2011. Thanks to Steve White for these photos:
Last updated: 11-12-11