Special Service for University Open Days
Reading University held open days on 6th and 27th October this year. In previous years coaches have been hired to transport visitors from the station to the University campus, but this year the opportunity was taken to enhance the normal Reading Buses service with a special X20 non-stop service running every 30 minutes in addition to the normal 7-8 minute frequency on Claret routes 20, 20A and 21. Visitors were given free travel with a ticket from student staff at the station.
824 on the X20 yesterday - 819 was also in use. 824 also features adverts on both sides for the recently introduced Solo tickets for under 19s which replaced child tickets in September.
There have been delays of 20 minutes, and even up to 30 or 40 minutes at peak times on the Claret routes recently due to roadworks in Wilderness Road, plus further works in Mill Lane, Lower Earley. Due to this two extra vehicles have been in use on the routes each day, nominally 1110/1. Route 9 has also been affected by the Wilderness Road works combined with roadworks at the Black Boy roundabout with delays up to 20 minutes at peak times. Route 9 is likely to be converted to double deck, with 1112-4 due to start making regular appearances to boost capacity from tomorrow.
Thames Travel Fleet Changes
Thames Travel are currently in the process of a significant fleet change which will see the departure of ten of the most recent MAN / MCV Evolutions. As now appears to be the norm since acquisition by Go-Ahead, older vehicles from the Go-Ahead group have started to arrive in the form of two exLondon Volvo B7TL / Plaxton Presidents recently with Damory, with further examples expected. Those receieved so far have received Thames Travel logos on their two tine blue livery, suggesting that they may be present for a while. Two Optare Tempos are also on loan from Carousel.
Loaned Optare Tempo 804 looking very smart on 27th, and sounding reminiscent of Reading's once large fleet of Excels.
1909 displays it's London heritage with it's centre door and red paint on the tree deflector. Rapid progress is being made on the new Station entrance behind.
Gold Buses for Thames Valley Park
Today saw a change of operator and the launch of a new fleet of vehicles for the TVP shuttle service between Thames Valley Park and Reading Station. Stewarts of Mortimer have taken over from Reading Transport with a fleet of eight Mercedes-Benz Citaros finished to a high specification. In the run-up to the launch, Stewarts have been displaying the new vehicles for users to have a look at. The vehicles wear a plain gold livery with Stewarts lettering at the rear and feature high backed seats with leather headrests, wood effect floors, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and a passenger information system.
BF62 JZL on display at Thames Valley Park on 18th September. Thanks to Jez Head for this photo.
BF62 JZM/L/P lined up on the bank of the River Thames on 25th September 2012. Thanks to Mark Chandler for providing this photo.
The service will continue to run into Reading every 7-8 minutes during peak periods, but is also being extended to Winnersh Triangle Station to meet trains to/from London Waterloo. The first bus will leave the Station at 0710, and the last will leave TVP at 1900 in time for the 1919 train. Companies at IQ Winnersh, the name of the Winnersh Triangle Business Park since 13 May 2010, are also advertising the new link.
The interior of BF62 JZL. Thanks to Jez Head for this photo.
A nearside view by the Thames. Thanks to Mark Chandler for providing this photo.
Reading Transport's five displaced high-spec Scania OmniCity single deckers 1-5 are to be repainted red for use on Vodafone services in Newbury, allowing some of the Vodafone fleet to be repainted for temporary use on the new South Reading Park & Ride contract from November. The ex-Vodafone vehicles will then be withdrawn on arrival of the Alexander Dennis Enviro 300GS vehicles from 5th May 2013. The two displaced Scania OmniCity double deckers 1113/4 will join the Reading generic fleet for the time being.