Reading initially purchased 6 Wright Streetlites in wheel forward configuration. They were officially launched on 27th February 2012 and wore a common two tone green livery in the style first introduced with the Enviro 400Hs, with branding for individual routes as follows:
- 151 - Reading Buses generic
- 152 - Reading Buses generic
- 153 - Lower Caversham route 27/29
- 154 - Route 19
- 155 - Route 19
- 156 - Reading Buses generic (Goldline internal specification without cash vault or assault screen for use on route 142)
151 arrived on 3rd February 2012, followed by 152 on 9th, 154 by 14th, 153/5 on 21st and 156 on 25th. The identities of 153/4 were swapped between arrival and entry into service, with the dates here relating to their final identity. The vehicles were delivered from Ireland via Heysham Docks where 154 is seen below on 12th February 2012, and 153/5 were noted on 18th. Thanks to Gerald Nicholls for this photo:
151 entered service ahead of the official launch to provide cover on a temporary shuttle service during bridgeworks in Purley that Solos had been operating since December. 151 is seen below with fleet numbers but otherwise unbranded on 18th February 2012. Thanks to James Cusworth for this photo:
The branding process saw the removal of the Wrightbus logo from the front dash to make room for company fleet names / route branding. 152 is seen below in Friar Street at the official launch on 27th February 2012:
Entry into service was delayed pending modifications to the wheelchair fitting. As delivered the vehicles had a removable bar that the driver had to fix in place each time a wheelchair was present, which was not deemed practical for ongoing use. Instead an additional floor-to-ceiling pole was added behind the driver's cab in line with the screw-in bit for the original restraint. In addition to 151 on the temporary Purley shuttle, only 156 entered service (on 8th February) with the original arrangement on route 142 which had a small dedicated team of drivers. 151 did however receive full Reading Buses livery around the time of the launch. They all received their modifications in early March 2012, with 153 entering service on 7th March, and the rest on 16th. 152 is seen below at the official launch on 27th February 2012:
Operation of route 142 ceased after 2nd June 2012, at which point 156 was modified to the same specification as 151-5 with a cash vault and assult screen. 156 is seen below in Checkendon on 2nd June 2012:
Further modifications were carried out from October 2012 to add an additional window on each side above the rear wheels. 155 had been fitted by 23rd October 2012, 153 & 156 by 27th, but 154 had only been done on the offside by 27th. 153 is seen below on 6th July 2013:
Due to reliability problems with the type, 151-6 were part exchanged for five wheel forward versions 161-5 in early 2014. Two further door forward examples 166/7 were ordered for enhancements to route 19 from 7th July 2014.
153 left on 3rd February 2014 heading for Lingfield, before being sold on to Parksafe, Paisley in May 2014. The remainder remained with Ventura Sales (daler) before passing to Buses Excetera in late August 2014. 156 is seen below in Guildford on 26th September 2014. Thanks to Bob Stanger for this photo:
The seven door forward examples wear specific colours for their allocated routes as follows:
- 161 - Reading Buses generic
- 162 - Reading Buses Community Link (routes 18/28)
- 163 - Pink 27/29
- 164 - Orange 19 (later the nineteens)
- 165 - Orange 19 (later the nineteens)
- 166 - the nineteens
- 167 - the nineteens
Originally expected in October 2013, only 161-3 had arrived in Reading by 27th December 2013, and were in dealer white. 161/2 went to Hants & Dorset Trim for repaint into livery arriving there by 20th January 2014, and 163 went to Renault Trucks returning by 22nd January 2014. All five entered service in February 2014 in their dedicated liveries. 162 is seen below in February 2014. Thanks to Stuart Curwen for this photo:
163 is seen below on 24th February 2014. Thanks to James Cusworth for this photo:
165 is seen below on 27th February 2014. Thanks to Graham Low for this photo:
166/7 were delivered in June 2014. Existing 164/5 were rebranded 'the nineteens' along with the new vehicles. 165 is seen below at Great Knollys Street depot on 29th June 2014 immediately after being rebranded:
Following the win of West Berkshire tendered work in Newbury from 5 September 2016 and the acquisition of 6 gas powered Optare Solos from Stagecoach East Midlands, repaints into a new Kennections brand for Newbury commenced in August 2016. 161 returned in base livery by 18th August and re-entered service in Newbury on 5 September. 162 went away in October and re-entered service in Newbury by 23rd. 165 went away in January 2017 having been displaced by 131/2, returning to Reading by 5th February and entering service in Newbury shortly after. It was followed by 166 which had transferred to Newbury by 24th February. 164 was the last to follow in March 2017, allowing 134 to transfer to Reading. It is seen below on 30 March 2017:
Following reductions to the 19 service from 19th February 2018, 167 was repainted into new Red 22 livery just ahead of changes returning to service on 19th February. Following capacity issues it went on loan to Xelabus on 19th March, returning to service by 5th April. By 7th April it has been rebranded for the Thames Valley operation in Slough to help replace hired vehicles.
Following the arrival of Enviro200MMCs 676-8 in October 2019, 166 was displaced from Slough to Newbury & District, but due to accident damage on 164 requiring a repaint, in the event 164 was swapped for 166, with 164 returning from repaint on 11 October. 166, still in base Kennections livery with Thames Valley logos took up it's place at Newbury Mill Lane. 167 followed suit on 3rd November, going directly for repaint and returning to service at Newbury & District on 26th November 2019. 164 much of it's time on loan from N&D to Mill Lane until the transfer of Kennections services to N&D from April 2020.
Following the arrival of Enviro200MMC 679 in February 2020, 163 was displaced from Lower Caversham to Newbury & District. It went away for repaint on 26 February 2020, returning on 17 March, going away for the application of vinyls on 23 March, and finally entering service with N&D on 16 April.
Operation of the Newbury Kennections network transferred from Reading Buses to Newbury & District on 20 April, along with vehicles 161, 162, 165, 166, reuniting all seven Streetlites at N&D.
Wright Streetlite demonstrator BRZ 9662 visited Reading Transport in December 2010 as part of a search for new vehicles to replace the remaining fleet of Optare Solos in Reading and Newbury. The Streetlite, which had only recently started to enter the fleets in the UK after being unveiled earlier in the year, was used in service on route 142 on the on 15th at 1400 and 16th at 0900. The model has 37 seats. BRZ 9662 is seen below in Minster Street on the morning of 15th. Thanks to Stephen Le Bras for this photo:
Last updated: 17-08-20