Reading Buses today announced the expansion of its interests in the Thames Valley region with the operation of the Green Line 702 Bracknell, Windsor and London service.
The move follows the announcement by First that it is withdrawing from the route after the end of service on December 23.
Reading Buses will replace the service which covers Bracknell , Ascot, Windsor , Slough, Langley and London Victoria from December 27 and will also be co-ordinating a special service to run on Christmas Eve Sunday.
Reading Buses say the route will operate exactly as it does today, although all London bound journeys will run five minutes earlier than they do currently in order to provide better on time arrival and turn round time in London .
A new link from Reading will be provided on early morning and evening journeys offering new weekday commuter services for customers in the Reading area, serving stops from Blagrave Street through to Cemetery Junction. At weekends these journeys will also offer suitably timed leisure journey opportunities to Legoland, Windsor and London .
Whilst the Green Line 702 service will be starting on a broadly unchanged basis, Reading Buses say they will be working hard to deliver a number of improvements.
Martijn Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses, said today: “We are really excited to be taking over the long standing Berkshire Green Line service which is part of a network that has been in operation since the 1930’s.
“The Bracknell and Windsor to London route, together with our morning and evening extensions to and from Reading , is a really good fit with our growing focus on the wider Thames Valley region as well as the Reading travel to work area.
“The route offers a convenient link for London and Slough bound commuters and visitors and workers in historic Windsor , including Legoland, as well as to Bracknell with it’s recently opened Lexicon shopping centre.
“With annual London season tickets from just £1,600 and day fares from just £9 return to London , the route offers a very cost effective travel solution too.
“As a company we have a good track record of investing in, promoting and growing our routes. We look forward to bringing this same winning formula to the Green Line 702 service and its loyal customer base.”
A new website will provide full timetable and fare information, including online ticketing, from the launch of the service by Reading Buses. In the meantime those interested in the new operation are advised to keep an eye on www.reading-buses.co.uk for more information.
The company is able to confirm that it is in dialogue with First to continue accepting all current season tickets until their expiry. Reading Buses will also accept contactless bankcards for on board payment and a new app with live vehicle tracking and mobile tickets will also be introduced.
Reading Buses say they will also be evaluating replacement vehicle options early in the new year.