Reading have 34 OmniDekkas. The first 17 are 12m examples originally bought primarily for use on cross town service 17, whilst the rest are 10.5m examples. All wear Reading Buses 'quality travel for Reading' livery of beige with a coloured roof/front and a silver swoop. The colour of the roof/front varies according to the route on which each bus is designated to appear on. 801-4 were delivered in charcoal grey for use on any route and 805-17 purple for route 17.
The first OmniDekka to arrive was 801 on the 11th September 2004. It made its first appearance at the Wroughton bus rally the following day, before very quickly taking up driver training duties across the town and carrying out a private hire on 24th September, as photographed below outside the Oracle.
The side view of 801 illustrates the new generic Reading Buses livery that is to be applied to buses without specific route branding.
Particular attention was been paid to the location of the advert frames on these vehicles, the nearside being free from advertising, whilst the frames on the offside have been suitably located so that the main branding and features of the livery are not be covered up. On vehicles with route branding there is lettering inside the advert frames, so when there aren't adverts inserted there is route advertising there in its place.
802 arrived on 5th October, 804/5 on 11th October, 803/6/7 on 14th October. 801-15 entered service on 25th October 2004, with 816/7 following a few weeks later.
This is 17 branded 806 at the official launch of the vehicles at the Old Town Hall on 20th October 2004.
This is 17 branded 809 on 25th October 2004, its first day in service. In front of it is 812, and 808 is opposite.
Similar 814 is seen on 28th December 2004, apparently on a short working along the Oxford Road to Norcot.
816 was exhibited at Coach & Bus 2004 at the NEC in Birmingham (2nd-4th November) before entering service in Reading. It is seen below on the stand with other Scania Omni vehicles around it.
Along with all of the Optare Spectras and Dennis Tridents in Reading, the OmniDekkas feature full tree deflectors. They also follow the trend that started with the low floor Spectras and have a full rear destination display. The displays on the first 17 OmniDekkas are made by Mobitec (as opposed to Bright-Tech in the low floor Spectras). There is a full CCTV system, including cameras located on the outside above the doors and drivers cab.
Whilst reversing the Mobitec destination displays switch to show appropriate warning messages. The front of 804 is illustrated below on 13th January 2007:
802 was loaned to Brighton & Hove for evaluation from 12th to 13th July 2005.
818 arrived on 28th October 2005 as a one-off replacement for Optare Spectra 703 which was badly damaged in a low bridge accident on Loddon Bridge Road on 19th July 2005. It entered service on or by the 1st December 2005 in generic grey livery and features Hanover LED destination displays (but with only numerals on the side and rear), a small rear window on the bottom deck, and yellow internal grab rails rather than silver. It's initial primary use was to operate on the 25/44/45 corridor, later rebranded 23/24/25/26. It is pictured below on route 25 on 3rd December 2005:
818 was transferred to Newbury in September 2010 following the withdrawal of MAN / East Lancs Kinetec+ 501, and was selected due to it being the last double decker in the fleet to wear charcoal grey generic livery. In early October 2010 it received Newbury Buses logos and branding for "The Link". It seen below operating football service 78 on 30th October 2010:
819-26 were originally expected to arrive week commencing 20th March 2006 to enter service on 27th March, however the vehicles were delayed and 822 arrived on 25th March, 820 on 26th, 819 on 28th, 823 on 29th, 825 on 30th, 821 & 826 on 31st and 824 on 1st April. They started to enter service on Tuesday 4th April 2006, with all eight in service by 5th in light pink for use on routes 25/26. 820 is seen below with 802 on 4th April 2006:
827-34 were expected to follow 819-26 and be introduced a few weeks later in dark pink for routes 23/24. 827 and 831 arrived on 25th April, 833 on 26th, 829 on 2nd May, 828 on 4th, 830/2 on 5th and 834 on 9th. They started to enter service from Monday 8th May. 832 is seen below on 13th May 2006:
Following an order for 14 ethanol powered Scania double deckers, due in May 2008, 805-17 were displaced from route 17 onto other routes. Repaints were as follows:
- 801 - August 2008 to silver (returned to service on 26th August)
- 802 - August 2008 to silver (at North West Bus & Coach on 24th August and 7th September, returned to service by 13th September)
- 803 - August 2008 to silver (returned to service on 26th August)
- 804 - August 2008 to silver (returned to service by 30th August)
- 805 - August 2008 to dark green route 5 livery (returned from repaint by 10th August, returned to service by 16th August). The branding was amended to route 5/6 in October 2011.
- 806 - August 2008 to dark green route 5 livery (returned from repaint around 11/12th August, returned to service on 15th August)
- 807 - August 2008 to dark green route 5 livery (returned from repaint on 14th August, returned to service by 18th August)
- 808 - July 2008 to dark green route 5 livery (at North West Bus & Coach on 27th, returned from repaint by 10th August, returned to service by 18th August)
- 809 - July 2008 to dark green route 5 livery (departed Reading on 25th, at North West Bus & Coach on 27th, returned to service on 5th August)
- 810 - July 2008 to dark green route 5 livery (returned to service on 5th August, branded by 30th August)
- 811 - July 2008 to maroon route 20/21 livery (returned from paint shop on 26th, in service by 5th August)
- 812 - to maroon route 20/21 livery (departed on 21 July 2008, in service by 11th August)
- 813 - July 2008 to maroon route 20/21 livery (probable departure for repaint on 14th, returned from repaint on 25th, in service by 2nd August)
- 814 - July 2008 to maroon route 20/21 livery (back from paint shop and part vinyled by 13th, in full livery by 15th August)
- 815 - May 2008 to maroon route 20/21 livery (back in service by 8th)
- 816 - April 2008 to maroon route 20/21 livery (back in service by 30th)
- 817 - April 2008 to maroon route 20/21 livery (back in service on 19th)
803 is seen below on 26th August 2008:
810 is seen below prior to the application of route branding on 8th August 2008:
805 is seen below on 13th September 2008 following the application of branding for route 5 a couple of weeks earlier:
817 is seen below on 19th April 2008, its first day in service following repaint into route 20/21 livery:
From 1st September 2008 journeys on the 25 were replaced by 26s, which along with a revised route in the town centre and a slightly reduced peak frequency allowed 826 to go away for repaint into light blue for routes 15/16. It may have departed for repaint on 28th August 2008, returning on 10th September and re-entering service on 11th. The branding on 819-25 was also altered altered to omit route 25 on or just after 31st August. 826 is seen below on 13th September 2008:
824 is seen below with its revised branding for route 26 on 13th September 2006:
Following an order for 6 Alexander Dennis Enviro400H double deckers which entered service on 13th December 2010, 819-25 were repainted into generic silver as follows:
- 819 - December 2010 to silver (returned to service by 11th December)
- 820 - January 2011 (Route 26 lettering removed by 17th December, returned from repaint on 24th January, back in service by 7th February)
- 821 - January 2011 (Route 26 lettering removed by 17th December, back in to service until being prepared for repaint by 5th January, returned from repaint on 17th, and back into service on 19th)
- 822 - December 2010 to silver
- 823 - November 2010 to silver (returned to service by 27th November)
- 824 - November 2010 to silver (at Hants & Dorset Trim, Eastleigh on 5th November, returned to service by 20th November)
- 825 - September 2010 to silver (returned to service by 24th September)
In addition, 828 lost registration MRD 1 in favour of it's original mark YN06 JWJ by 13 October 2010. 825 was fitted with GPS and WiFi in September 2010 for use on The Green Bus routes to Theale Green School and route 26, and 801 and 802 were fitted with WiFi in December 2010 as spares for route 26. 801/2 received "free WiFi on this bus" logos on the front and rear in late February 2011. 802 is seen below with these logos on 5th March 2011:
823/4 were nominally allocated to Reading Buses operated journeys on Vitality 1 from 13th December 2010 to ease capacity issues on certain journeys, followed by 822 by 11th January 2011. Operation of these journeys was subcontracted to Weavaway Travel in late January 2011, 50% of the operation having transferred on 29th November 2010. 822 is seen below on 15th January 2011:
- 801 went on loan to Newbury from approx 16th September 2013 until 22nd September 2013 to provide cover for 804, and then to help operate the Newbury Show shuttle on 21st and 22nd.
- 803 went on loan to Newbury from 28th May 2012 until 27th July 2012 to provide extra capacity on Vodafone services during roadworks, and again 6th-7th and 12th-20th September 2012 to cover for 804.
- 803 went on loan to Newbury in June 2015 to provide cover for maintenance work on 801.
- 804 went on loan to Newbury from approx 25th March 2012 until 28th May 2012 to provide extra capacity on Vodafone services during roadworks, and again from 11th August 2012 until 6th September 2012, and 7th-12th September 2012 before permanent transfer on 20th. It went on loan to Reading 11th-18th September 2016.
- 820/1 went on loan to Newbury from 6th until 7th June 2011 to cover for vehicles damaged by vandals.
- 822 went on loan to Weavaway Travel from 30th January 2011 to operate route 1, and returned on around 5th April 2011
- 823 went on loan to Weavaway Travel from 30th January 2011 to operate route 1, and returned by 6th February 2011.
- 823 went on loan to Weavaway Travel from around 11th February 2011 to operate route 1, and returned on around 5th April 2011
- 824 went on loan to Weavaway Travel from 6th February 2011 to operate route 1, and returned on around 5th April 2011.
Service changes and a reorganisation of Reading Town Centre from 18th April 2011 saw the Route 23/24 branding on 827-34 removed by 9th April and replaced with 'Caversham' branding over night between 14th and 15th April 2011. 831 is seen on diversion outside the Town Hall on 17th April 2011:
Following an order for a further 25 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400Hs which started to enter service in July 2011, 811-7 were withdrawn on 14th July 2011 pending sale. 813/7 were temporarily returned to service on 18th and 19th July whilst low trees in Lower Earley were being tackled. 827-31 were withdrawn in early August 2011, as was 818 which was about to become redundant at Newbury will the transfer of Newbury's operations on the Link to Stagecoach from 30th August 2011.
In October 2011 805 had it's route 5 branding replaced with branding for routes 5/6 to allow slightly greater flexibility with it's allocation. On 28th or 29th February 2012 805-9 then had their lettering modified to promote £1 fares between Whitley Street and the Town Centre. 805 is seen below on 15th March 2012:
804 was transferred to Newbury to provide extra capacity on Vodafone services from September 2012.
801 was sent to Hants & Dorset trim for repaint on 12th June 2013 following the removal of a ColourBus advertising livery for Reading Football Club, returning on 1st July in exchange for 819 which had a MegaRear removed. 801 returned to service on 2nd July and 819 returned by 17th July. 801 received a simplified version of the silver livery without the silver swoosh.
802 was repainted dark green for routes 5&6 in November 2013, followed by 803 by 8th December 2013 just for route 5 due to an increased requirement on these routes from 24th September 2013. In September 2014 803/6-10 had their route 5 branding replaced with branding for routes 5/6 to allow all of the vehicles to be used on either route.
801 was transferred to Newbury to provide extra capacity on Vodafone services from April 2015 after going there on loan in late February as a trial to complement 804.
Pending the arrival of 16 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s which entered service on 10th May 2015, the remaining OmniDekkas 801-3/5-10/19/22/24/25 were advertised for sale during 2014 with the exception of Vodafone 804. Following this, the decision was made to retain 801 in addition to 804 for the Vodafone fleet, 803/5/6/10 for the generic fleet and 802/7-9 for route 21A. Following the withdrawal of 802/3/5-10 from routes 5/6 on 9th May, 805/7 briefly saw service on 15th and 805/9 on 19th to assist with the impact of the Reading Bridge closure. 802/3/5/9 lost their route 5/6 branding by the end of May.
810 returned from repaint into generic livery by 3rd July 2015 and re-entered service on 5th. It became the first vehicle to carry the Reading Buses colour bar across the destination display, and wording "your usual coloured bus is being serviced today so this is one of our spares" on the sides. 803 followed returning to service by 7th August. 805 went away on 14th October, had returned by 31st October and was back in service by 4th November. 806 was in the workshop being prepared to go away for repaint on 1st November 2015, and was back in service by 27th. It is seen below on
802/7-9 went away to South Eastern Coachworks in Faversham for deep refurbishment into Claret "Spritzers" in the last week of June 2015, and were due back in mid September. 808 was displayed at Whiteknights Campus on 21st September, and re-entered service on 1st October. 809 re-entered service by 10th October and 807 by 14th. 802 had returned by 14th and was back in service by 26th. The result of the refurbishment led to a reduction in capacity from 51 to 37 on the top deck, with 39 seats retained on the bottom deck. 809 is seen below on 16 November 2015:
During July and August 2019 807-9 were re-trimmed upstairs to replace badly worn experimental carpets and seat coverings with wood effect floors and other new features that should be more durable, but equally exciting. Similar 802 was converted back to standard 90 seat layout following the April 2016 frequency reduction which reduced the requirement from 4 to 3 vehicles, but featuring wood effect floors and re-trimmed seats. It returned on 12th September 2019, and re-entered service on 18th September.
801/4 were replaced on Vodafone duties following the arrival of 781/2 in January 2017. 804 was sold to Somerbus, departing on 4th January 2017. 801 was temporarily transferred back to Reading for use on a short term Vodafone staff bus duplicate to the Lion X4 pending timetable changes from 24th April 2017. It then lost it's Vodafone livery returning to the previous generic silver in May 2017. Ultimately it was retained and repainted into the latest silver and grey generic livery in June 2017 following the demise of Enviro400H 203 on 14th May 2017.
805/6 gained "super T-side" advert frames in late November or early December 2017, covering the first offside window to create a larger advertising space. The frames were removed from 806 in May 2020.
801 was re-trimmed in-house into the latest Reading Buses moquette at the start of April 2019. It was also reregistered X100 RDG on 17th April 2019, pending sale of previous holder 530. 803/5 were also re-trimmed later in 2019, followed by 806 in April 2020.
A further four examples were purchased from Nottingham City Transport in July 2019 as a result of additional school services starting in the September, and the need for additional cover during a project to upgrade the older fleet to meet Euro VI emission standards. Allocated numbers 863-66, 863 arrived in Reading in full Nottingham livery on 6/7 July, 864 on 8 July, 865 on 6/7 July and 866 on 9 July. All four all entered service on 19 July for a one-off operation on Reading University graduation shuttles before going away for repaint into the relevant liveries. 866 also operated on the Reading Festival 98 on 23 August in Nottingham livery.
Ultimately though, 863/4 were allocated to Reading and gained generic silver livery whilst 865/6 were allocated to Newbury & District in place of the planned cascade of 1201/2 from the Jet Black service to N&D. 863 entered ordinary service in full livery on 2 September 2019, 864 on 19 September, 865 on 2 September and 866 on 19 September. 864/6 both had returned from repaint on 12th September.
Nottingham was unusual in continuing to specify the OmniDekka body when Euro 4 regulations and the new Scania ND270 chassis led to East Lancs developing the Olympus body taken by Reading Buses in the form of 835-61. The vehicles were selected due to the commonality with the rest of the Reading fleet, their relatively youthful age for vehicles of that type, their reliability and their impressive 86 seat capacity.
Sales were as follows:
- 804 to Somerbus on 4th January 2017
- 811/12 to Stephensons of Rochford in July 2011
- 813/17 to Go South Coast in July 2011 (both noted at Hants & Dorset Trim for repaint on 25th July, and completed by 31st August (813) / 28th August (817)) gaining Simply Go livery for Alton College. Both transferred to Wilts & Dorset in July 2012 and gained Stonehenge livery in March 2013.
- 814/15/16 to Sanders Services in July 2011 (816 named Neptune)
- 818 to Beestons of Hadleigh on 18th August 2011
- 827/28/29 to Go South Coast on 9th August 2011 (all noted at Hants & Dorset Trim on 17th and 22nd, with 829 still present on 30th), gaining Simply Go livery for Alton College. They were repainted into More livery in July/August 2014 following the loss of the contract.
- 830/31 to Go South Coast on approx 30th August (830 was noted at Hants & Dorset Tim on 2nd September and in service in Southampton in Reading livery on the same day), gaining Simply Go livery for Alton College. Both transferred to More in July 2014 following the loss of the contract.
- 832/33 to Go South Coast on 31st August 2011 (833 was noted at Hants & Dorset Tim on 2nd September and in service in Southampton in Reading livery on the same day), gaining Simply Go livery for Alton College. 833 was repainted into More livery in August 2013. 832 transferred to More in July 2014 following the loss of the contract.
- 834 to Go South Coast on 27th September 2011 gaining Simply Go livery for Alton College. It was repainted into More livery in August 2013.
- 820/21/23/26 to Go South Coast by 16th October 2011, with 820/1/3 gaining Bluestar livery. 820 gained More livery in August 2014.
- 819/22/24 to Sanders of Holt in May 2015
- 825 to Ford, Althorne in May 2015
811 is seen below at Showbus, Duxford on 18th September 2011. Thanks to David Smith for this photo:
816 is seen below in Norwich on 13th August 2011. Thanks to Kevin Smith for this photo:
820 is seen below with Bluestar in Southampton on 5th July 2013. Thanks to David Smith for this photo:
823 is seen below with Bluestar on 23rd November 2012. Thanks to Bob Stanger for this photo:
828 is seen below with Marchwood Motorways (Go South Coast) in Alton on 19th September 2011. Thanks to Mark Lyons for this photo:
833 is seen below in Poole on 13th September 2013 having just been repainted into More livery. Thanks to David Oborn for this photo:
Last updated: 17-08-20