Reading University Revamp Completes 1st September Changes
Today saw the start of Reading Buses new 5 minute frequency between the Town Centre and Reading University. This follows the introduction of an increased year-round 10 minute frequency from 7th July (in place of routes 20 and 20A) and a 24-hour timetable from 1st September. The main 21 to Lower Earley was intended to be operated by new Enviro 400s 751-7, but a slight delay in their delivery has meant that existing Claret liveried Enviro400Hs 211-7 are running the service to start off with, although 216 appeared on the 21A today with 1109 on the 21. 211-3 are intended to be repainted into generic livery and 214-7 to operate the 21A shorts to the University once the new vehicles arrive.
216 on the new 21A today.
Three demonstrators have arrived on loan from Alexander Dennis to cover part of the shortfall - a short Enviro 200, an Enviro 350H and an Enviro 400. The Enviro 200 is in use at Newbury to cover the Vodafone fleet, whilst the Enviro 350H is only going to be used infrequently mainly on The Green Bus route RC2. The Enviro 400 will mainly be used on route 21.
798 at Kilnsea Drive, Lower Earley today.
The generic fleet, short of 211-3 and 758 has also been boosted with 835-7 displaced from the Loddon Bridge Park & Ride and generic 1031, the sale of which has been temporarily postponed following the arrival of 651-4. 835-7 will mainly be used on the 21A and have gained Claret branded fares vinyls on the first nearside window.
837 on the 21A today.
653 at St Mary's Butts today.
Previously the combined frequency to the University was every 7-8 minutes with routes 20, 20A and 21. The new arrangement better matches the level of demand without affecting the level of service provided to Lower Earley where previous attempts at summer step downs have never been entirely satisfactory, and can now be applied during all University vacations. The enhanced 'nineteens' which replaced routes 20 and 20A to Beech Lane (19B) and Silverdale Road (19A/19C) are said to have been very successful so far, with improved reliability on the old 19, and vehicles more closely matched to the level of demand in areas traditionally served by single deckers. A peak extra vehicle runs on the 19B using a generic Enviro300SG to provide additional journeys, capacity and reliability.
1st September also saw a number of other service enhancements with four additional vehicles worth of work going into the network. Routes 5 & 6 were increased from every 10 minutes each to every 8, route 26 was returned to a 10 minute frequency after a few years running every 12, route 15 was doubled to every 15 minutes as far as Dee Road, route 21 was increased from every 15 to 10 minutes, and route 33 was increased from every 15 to 10 minutes on the busiest section as far as Tilehurst Triangle and reduced to every 20 minutes on the quieter section to Turnham's Farm.
This is in addition to a new timetable on route 1 requiring an additional vehicle for reliability to replace the temporary arrangement with single deckers that had been in place since earlier in the year.
1208 on Blagrave Street today along with the aftermath of the weekends closure and the temporary signage for traffic emerging from the reversed direction flow along Friar Street. The demolition of the adjacent building has also made a dramatic difference to the background.
Closure of Blagrave Street leading to Closure of Station Road
Blagrave Street was closed this weekend for water main replacement and carriageway repairs. Rather than reversing the one way link between The Forbury and Forbury Road as per previous occasions, the one way system along Friar Street East was reversed as the work is being followed by a two week closure of Station Road.
In effect this temporarily returns Friar Street to the way it was for quite a number of years, with temporary bus stops FX, FY and FZ located outside the Pitcher & Piano, Harris Arcade and Yates. For the duration of both sets of work routes 5, 6 and 82 were allocated to FZ, whilst routes 15, 16 and 33 which normally serve Friar Street westbound were relocated to stop FN outside the Hotels with (slightly confusingly) the east bound 17.
Purple 17 branded 224 going through the normal no-entry point.
For the closure of Blagrave Street routes 1 and 2 were allocated to FX, route 26 to FY and routes 3, 9, 19 and 21 were squeezed onto stop FM outside Subway along with normal route 11. For the closure of Station Road routes 3, 9, 19 will be allocated to FX, Greenwave and X39/X40 to FY and the 1, 2, 21 and 26 return to normal.
Lime 2 branded 434 on Friar Street East stop FX today with the new Sundays only short working to Burghfield Common following the withdrawal of very long standing funding from West Berkshire Council to continue to Mortimer.
Yellow 26 branded 203 on Friar Street East today.
Dark Green 5 & 6 branded 802 on Friar Street East today.
Claret branded 213 with Leopard 426 on Friar Street West today.
Newbury Show 2014
This weekend saw the annual Royal County of Berkshire Show at Newbury Showground, with Reading Buses providing the usual number 10 shuttle service from Newbury and Thatcham. Through fares were also offered on Jet Black route 1 from Reading, changing at Thatcham. The vehicles allocated on Saturday were 801 from Reading and Vodafone 804. Many of the Vodafone single deckers were also in use providing shuttles from the car parks.
Notably the real time information displays both on board 801/4 were showing stop information relevant to the route, and the screens inside the shelters in Thatcham were displaying predictions.
804 on arrival at Thatcham Broadway on 20th.
1207 at Thatcham Broadway on 20th, still pending repaint into Jet Black livery following acquisition by Reading Transport.