Reading Buses is currently trialing different vehicles and propulsion systems on its popular purple 17 route between Wokingham Road , Three Tuns and Tilehurst Water Tower.
The cross town route, which operates 24/7 up to every 7 minutes, is Reading’s most popular bus route and can trace its origins back to trolley bus and tram days over 100 years’ ago.
A blue and silver ‘Vantage Power’ bus has been testing a new type of electric-hybrid powertrain that could be retrofitted into existing buses to help reduce carbon emissions and operate on pure electric mode in the town centre zone.
A red Alexander Dennis City double deck bus from London is currently in use to test what is known as ‘dual door’ operation, whereby separate exit and entrance doors are provided and allow both boarding and alighting at the same time.
This, Reading Buses hopes, will help speed bus journeys and reduce the time spent waiting at stops.
Martijn Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses, said today: “Dual door operation has been commonplace and popular in London for many years and as door and step safety systems have improved, we are now seeing other town and city regions such as Brighton and Oxford return to these types of buses for some of their busiest routes.
“With increasing congestion and demand for travel we’ve got to look at all possible ways of reducing journey times to keep our network moving. The dual door bus trial will give us the opportunity to test this”.
Later next month the company will also be trialing a higher capacity double deck bus to see if bigger buses to accommodate growing demand is an alternative.
Said Martijn: “Should we adopt dual door buses on the route in the future then we will need to work with highways colleagues at the council to re-visit bus stop arrangements, especially raised kerbs.
“But whatever we do, our customers can be assured that we are putting a lot of thought into getting everyone’s views to obtain the best buses for Reading .”
The company plans to replace its fleet of 16 double deck buses currently on the route with new vehicles towards the end of next year and would welcome customers comments on the trial buses. These can be e-mailed to [email protected]