Reading Buses is rolling out 17 Scania bio-gas double deckers with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 City bodywork on its flagship purple 17 route.
Representing a £5.1m investment, the buses each feature high-back seats, USB charging points, coat/bag hooks, 4G wifi, two wheelchair spaces, audio and visual announcements, as well as a group seating area upstairs, wood effect flooring and mood lighting. They also have two doors, which is expected to speed up the time it takes buses to pick up and drop off, as both can happen simultaneously.
Commenting on the upgrade, Reading Buses’ CEO, Martijn Gilbert said: “It’s important that we continue the evolution of Reading’s bus network to meet demand and keep our compact and congested town moving. Popular services such as the 17 rightly justify this sort of investment and it’s long overdue as the current fleet of 17 buses has been on the route for six years now, the longest of any fleet in recent times. The previous buses will now be completely re-furbished for use elsewhere on our network. We’re delighted to have been able to work with Scania and Alexander Dennis on a pioneering high specification for these city buses. These provide users with modern and eco-friendly travel including a range of features to aid customers’ journeys, with the latest digital connectivity and extra features for wheelchair users. This will be the first frequent bus service in the UK to be able to carry two wheelchair users at once, reflecting the accessibility of Reading’s Bus network and its wide scale use by everyone regardless of their mobility”.
“It is also great news that this substantial upgrade to this busy route comes alongside the Council’s soon to be introduced red route scheme, which will provide much wider benefits. We’re playing our part by not only making the bus a more attractive choice, but also speeding up waiting times at stops by bringing back dual-door operation. This is something Reading had until the late 90s and today’s technology means it now comes with a whole host of safety features. London has continually operated dual-door buses since the 1960’s and we’re now seeing city regions such as Brighton, Oxford and Bristol return to this type of bus. They’re a good fit for the 17.”