Reading Trial Scania OmniLink Demonstrator
Scania OmniLink demonstrator YR58 SUA has arrived for a short spell on demonstration to Reading Transport. It has been in use in Reading on the Thames Valley Park shuttle since Monday 26th (after driver training on 23rd), and is expected to move on to Newbury for use on Vodafone services next week.
YR58 SUA at Reading Station early this morning.
The vehicle is a 13.8 metre tri-axle single decker with 54 seats and was exhibited at the Euro Bus Expo in Birmingham in November. It has "rear steer" which means that it is as manoeuvrable as a 12m single decker, but with the capacity to carry more passengers. Immediately prior to its arrival in Reading it completed a five day spell with Brighton & Hove, and it is thought that there is already a buyer lined up for it elsewhere once it has completed its demonstration duties.
The destination display is a different make/spec to Reading's standard, but it has been fully programmed for TVP none the less.
The vehicle has been fitted with a ticket machine, but unfortunately it has not been possible to fit it with a cash vault to allow it to be used on any of the ordinary Reading services.
White Bus Services Re-launch Windsor Great Park Service
White Bus Services today re-launched their long established 01 route between Windsor and Ascot via Windsor Great Park, Cheapside, Sunningdale and Sunninghill. The route has operated in a number of forms since the company came into existence in 1930; the current route and service pattern dating from 1982 when the service was extended from Sunninghill to Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot. The service is largely rural in aspect and on certain journeys passes through the very attractive scenery of Windsor Great Park in areas normally only accessible to pedestrians and horse riders.
Two vehicles have been branded for service, Optare Tempos YJ07 EGD and YJ57 EHV seen today at Windsor Great Park. Thanks to Geoff Lovejoy for this photo.
The service is being re-launched in a bid to bring it to the attention of newcomers to the area and as a reminder of the travel opportunities the service can offer to local residents. A new livery has been designed and implemented by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead after new modern low floor, environmentally friendly and wheelchair accessible vehicles were introduced to the route in December 2007.
YJ57 EHV at Ascot Race Course today. The images in the branding are of Ascot Race Course, the Copper Horse statue on Snow Hill and Windsor Castle as seen through a meadow, divided by a green slanted ‘W’. Thanks to Geoff Lovejoy for this photo.
Repaints Commence Ahead of Service Revamp
Repaints of the Reading Wright Solar fleet commenced during December, ahead of planned changes to routes 9 and 18 and the Reading rural services in April. Consultation on these services ended in October (rural services) and November (routes 9 and 18), and the details of the resulting plans are to be announced shortly.
The consultation explained that they intend to split route 9 in the Town Centre, with new a route (thought to be numbered 22) combining the Town Centre - Caversham Heights section of route 9 with the part of route 18 between the Town Centre and Lower Earley. Meanwhile the rural services (137/8 and 143/8/9) are set for a major revamp.
1020 and 1021 (above today) now wear post box red livery, thought to be for the Shinfield Park section of route 9. They are appearing on route 18/19 until the service changes in April.
Two of the route 9 light green Solars - 1013/4 - were repainted into generic silver during December. 1013 appears on its former haunt today. The livery application differs from 1012 which was treated in 2007, having a silver swoop instead of grey and red logos also instead of grey.
Newbury Buses and Stagecoach Launch "The Link"
The management of Reading Transport and Stagecoach South met on the morning on Monday 12th to launch "The Link" a new look for routes 32 and 32A between Newbury and Basingstoke. MAN / East Lancs Kinetec+ 501 received special branding for the service over the weekend before, as did Stagecoach Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX400 18186. The branded vehicles attended the launch event, after which 501 entered service in its new livery for the first time on the 1340 from Newbury.
18186 and 501 at the launch on 12th. Thanks to Reading Transport for this photo.
The new vehicle livery has a purple theme which is repeated on bus stop flags, timetable leaflets and other marketing promotions. Both companies are contributing towards a joint marketing initiative, are offering a two-for-one deal until the end of February for two people buying a single or return ticket (after 0930 weekdays and anytime Saturdays) and are carrying out an extensive door drop of a leaflet which introduces people to the service and contains a £1 discount voucher.