Euro Bus Expo 2014
4-6 November saw the bi-annual Euro Bus Expo show at the NEC in Birmingham with a number of manufacturers displaying new Euro 6 models. Notable displays were the launches of the new Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 and Wright StreetDeck, whilst Optare displayed the first provincial specification MetroDecker demonstrator and Irizar their i6 single deck bus. The item with greatest local interest was one of two new MobiPeople Explorers for Baileys of Newbury, and Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 demonstrator YX64 VOO fresh from it's stint in Reading.
Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 YX64 VOO on the Somers Total Kare stand on 6th November. A second demonstrator was on the Alexander Dennis stand.
The MAN RR8 / MobiPeople Explorer. MobiPeople is a new Portuguese manufacturer that developed from the closure of the Marcopolo manufacturing operation.
The new Alexander Dennis Enviro 200.
The new Wright StreetDeck, showing influences from the New Routemaster including glass staircase panels.
The Optare MetroDecker to 11.1m provintial specification.
New Enviro 400s Enter Service
The first of Reading's new Enviro 400s started to enter service on 17th October on the Claret 21.
754 at Reading University on its first day in service on 17th October 2014. Thanks to Mark Lyons for this photo.
Still branded "Claret Routes", the network was greatly simplified earlier in the year with a 10 minute frequency on a single route that now runs all day and all night, and short workings that combine to give a 5 minute frequency to the University. The branding on the new vehicles reflects this, with fixed adverts behind the third party advertising frames with various different messages:
The livery on the vehicles is applied in the opposite arrangement to the existing Enviro 400Hs - with the darker Claret at the front and lighter Claret at the rear to help keep things fresh.
753 compares with 213 at Reading Station on a very wet 3rd November.
752 in Lower Earley on 28th October 2014. Thanks to Ray Ward for this photo.
Meanwhile, Station Hill was reopened for use as the new Southern Interchange on Friday 31st October following a formal opening the day before. The first use by Reading Buses was for a Rugby match on Saturday 1st November, on which day the service was operated solely by Claret liveried Envrio400Hs. Thames Travel route 143 to Pangbourne, Upper Basildon and Whitchurch relocated from 31st (the 143 replacing the 133 and 142 in Oxfordshire County Council tender cuts from 29th September, with the 132 renumbered BB3) and running every 2 hours is the only regular route to serve it. Originally it was intended that Greenwave services would serve here as well, but the success of new stops in Station Road and the Market Place mean that this is no longer possible.
707 on layover on 3rd November. Bus stop flags and timetables had yet to be installed.