Reading have a total of 12 OmniCity single deckers finished to a high specification for dedicated business services. Each feature colour LED destination displays, air conditioning and Euro IV engines. They follow 30 Scania L94UB / Wright Solars that had been ordered over the preceding two years. A large order book at Wrightbus meant that they couldn't build more Solars in time for the required launch dates, so OmniCity vehicles were ordered instead.
The first five 1-5 are allocated to Reading and additionally feature leather seats and WiFi internet access. After several delays during manufacture, they were eventually delivered towards the end September 2006 with 3 arriving on 22nd, 1/2 on 23rd and 4/5 soon after. All entered service on 2nd October on the Thames Valley Park shuttle service alongside improvements to the timetable providing departures up to every 8 minutes during peak periods. Below 1 is seen making the turn at the bottom of Station Hill on 2nd October 2006:
2 arriving at Reading Station from Thames Valley Park on 2nd October 2006:
2 heading for Thames Valley Park along Kings Road on 4th October 2006:
Thanks to Mark Lyons for this photo.
3 showing the rear profile whilst passing the entrance to Reading Station on 2nd October 2006:
5 ready to pick up passengers at the Station on 2nd October 2006:
Thames Valley Park temporarily increased the frequency of the shuttle service from 11th April 2011 to help deal with overcrowding. 1-5 were joined by Wright Solars 1015-6 with temporary branding pending the allocation of five double deckers 1110-14 from 10th October 2011. 1-5 went into reserve on 8th October. However the more frequent single deck operation had proved popular, so Thames Valley Park decided to make the increased frequency permanent running up to every 6 minutes from 13th February 2012 with 1-5 returning to service along with 1113/4 at peak periods.
The second batch 7-11 were delivered to Reading on 13th October 2006 for inspection before moving to Newbury on 22nd to enter service on 23rd on Vodafone services (although the launch was originally to be on 2nd October). 12 arrived somewhat later, and moved from Reading to Newbury on 17th November, and entered service on 20th. All seven wear a dedicated red livery with Vodafone logos. 8 is seen below on it's first day in service on 23rd October 2006:
9 arriving at Newbury Bus Station on 23rd October 2006 on the SH2 to Horizon West:
The rear profiles of 7 and 9 on 23rd October 2006:
The Thames Valley Park contract finished on 28th September 2012, and taken over by Stewarts of Mortimer from 1st October. In preparation for this 2 was repainted into Vodafone Red by 19th September and in service in Newbury by 30th, 1 was repainted by 30th September and in service in Newbury by 19th October, 3 was repainted and in service in Newbury by 19th October, 2 & 4 had been repainted and in service in Newbury by 23rd October and 5 was expected back from repaint on around 24th October and went into service in Newbury during November. These allowed 10-12 and Wright Solar 1037 to be displaced to Reading for temporary use on the South Reading contract, with 12 at Hants & Dorset trim on 25th September being repainted plain white, 11 on 3rd October and 10 on 17th October.
10-12 vehicles were advertised for sale when Alexander Dennis Enviro300SG vehicles entered service from 5th May 2013, however additional Vodafone work from mid-August 2013 will see them reinstated. All lost their FastTrack lettering in May 2013, leaving them in dealer white. 10 went on loan to Newbury from 10th to 17th May 2013 to provide temporary cover for 6, and again from 24th-31st May to cover for 1. It was then used to cover route 1 on Sunday 30th June 2013.
11 is seen below on 9th November 2012:
In December 2012 1, 5 and 9 received Vodafone Freebee adverts over their red livery, followed by 2-4 and 6-8 in January 2013. 5 is seen below on 17th January 2013:
9-11 were withdrawn on approx 18th September 2013, passing to Nottingham City Transport along with 12 on 23rd. 9 and 12 are seen below with them on 10th October 2013:
8 was fitted with a cash vault and assault screen in late November 2013 to allow it to be used as an additional spare vehicle in Reading whilst being advertised for sale. In March 2014 Peppin Transport, Hal Ghaxaq, Malta were looking to purchase a vehicle with full air conditioning, so 8 was returned to Newbury and 1 sold in its place. 1 was observed en-route in France on 19th March and in service in Malta by 29th still in plain red and registered BPY 032.
In September 2016 number 2 lost it's Vodafone livery and gained Kennections logos.
3-8 were displaced from Vodafone duties in April 2017 following the delivery of Scania Irizar i6s 21-26. 4/5 were out of service by 2nd April and 6 by 9th April. 4 lost it's Vodafone livery by 2nd April and was left out of use. 2 & 4 were then branded for the Jet Red service launched on 24th April for routes 101/102 between Newbury and Thatcham. 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 passed to Scania (dealer) during April for resale through their dealership arm. 8 was with Ashall's Coaches, Gorton briefly in June 2017 (joining former Excel 962), but all five passed to Al's Coaches during June 2017.
2 was transferred to Reading around 5th January 2018 for temporary use on route 702 pending transfer to Slough for use on new Thames Valley route 2 from 28th January 2018. It lost it's JetRed branding on the evening of 8th January and operated in plain red. 2 and 4 both received Thames Valley lettering with branding for route 2 just before operations started. They lost their Thames Valley branding following the withdrawal of route 2 (and introduction of double deck route 703) in May, returning to Reading as spare vehicles.
A further 3 tri-axle examples were hired from Stagecoach in December 2017 for medium term use on newly introduced Greenline route 702 between Bracknell and London, pending the acquisition of a permanent fleet during 2018.
Last updated: 09-07-18