Reading Rock Festival
The Reading Festival once again opened its doors to revellers over the bank holiday weekend, with some 3,500 more tickets available than last year and an enlarged site stretching further west than before. Reading Buses operated the same enhanced route 98 shuttle service from Reading Station to the Moderation pub on Caversham Road as last year, but with amendments reflecting earlier opening times on Wednesday and operational experience from last year. The service was generally operated by step entrance Spectras 708-13 which are now normally restricted to school workings and football specials.
709 (and 724 behind) taking a very healthy load at 0730 on Thursday 27th.
The service was well advertised, with information on the festival website, Reading Buses website, posters on lamp-posts outside the station and special bus stop flags. Ordinary services in the Caversham area were severely disrupted on Thursday due to people arriving at the site, but things were better by Friday. Regular delay updates were posted on the Reading Buses website, as is now customary when delays like these occur.
The festival is expected to grow by another 3,500 in 2010 and a further 3,000 in 2011.
Wednesday 26 August 2009
Thursday 27 August 2009 - 709, 713, 724 noted (713 possibly broken down)
Friday 28 August 2009 - 708, 709, 712, 713 noted
Monday 31 August 2009
Fares - £1 single, no change available.
Review of July
Reading Buses made a number of service changes from 13th July following a reduction in passenger numbers attributed to the current economic downturn. Most of the changes involved the trimming of peak frequencies on a number of Premier routes (often those linked to school buses), but also a daytime reduction to routes 63/64 and the withdrawal of routes 18 and 111/2. Route 18 has been partially rescued on a temporary basis by subsidises from Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire District Council, although these are under review.
Fleet Buzz (Countywide Travel) have had London-spec Optare Versa demonstrator YJ58 BZY on loan for the last few weeks. It has occasionally been appearing on route 72, the frequency on which was doubled to every 30 minutes as far as Spencers Wood following Reading Buses withdrawal of parallel routes 111 and 112.
YJ58 BZY awaiting its next departure at Reading Station yesterday afternoon.
Routes 63/64 reverted back their pre Premier Route daytime frequency of every 30 minutes each, rather than every 20. Whilst the evening service has also been reduced, the Sunday service has been kept at its enhanced frequency (every 30 minutes on each route) suggesting that the policy of making enhancements on Sundays has shown some significant success. The branding on the orange route 63/64 vehicles has had the "now more buses for Woodley" lettering removed.
849 on Greyfriars Road on 28th July.
More changes are planned from 7th September which amongst other things will see Newbury Buses Vitality 1 and Vitality 11 routes transferred to Reading to avoid the need and cost of out-stationing the Vodafone fleet at the VOSA testing site. The ten Dart SLFs will transfer to Reading at the same time. It is likely that Newbury Spectra 721 will be withdrawn along with the Reading examples in September, leaving Transbus Enviro 300 974 at Newbury as the deputy for the unique MAN double decker 501 on "The Link" to Basingstoke.
In an interview in "RouteONE" magazine on 30th July, it was reported that the S-prefixed school routes to Little Heath and Theale Green are to be branded "Green Bus" next year, assuming that the funding situation improves sufficiently to allow it. The Green Transport Company run a number of school services in the Birmingham area with a value added approach to service delivery that allows parents to track vehicles using GPS equipment and wireless internet boxes - boxes that also allow students access to the web whilst on the move. The six step entrance Spectras would be upgraded to Green Bus spec and repainted in their distinct livery.
Finally, a recent regular on the 800/850 to Wycombe has been Volvo B10BLE / Alexander ALX300 3454 which spent a number of years at Stevenage. Step entrance single deckers still remain the norm for the route however.
3454 at Reading Station yesterday.