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Reading Buses investment endorsed by Vice Chancellor

18 November 2014 #Bus and Coach #CV Sector #News #Sales

News from Reading Buses: The newest additions to the Reading Buses fleet brought a ringing endorsement from Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading, during an inauguration ceremony on the campus.

To mark the significant investment of £2 million in new buses, the company joined the Vice Chancellor for a ribbon cutting ceremony. 

The latest investment has helped to reduce the average age of the buses in the fleet to under four years.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sir David commented on the ‘special partnership’ that the University of Reading has established with Reading Buses and the commitment of the company to keep investing in the fleet which has helped to grow passenger numbers to and from the campus, adding ‘and long may it continue.’ 

Sir David then showed his true support for the company by flourishing his Reading Buses simplyBus card proving that he is an avid user who ‘always sits at the front on the upper deck when free.’

He paid tribute to the University staff who have worked closely with the company, as well as to the company themselves, to help encourage more people to get out of their cars and onto the bus.

Sir David’s presence at the ribbon cutting ceremony marked seven new E400 Euro-6 engine buses going into service on the claret 21 route between the town centre, the university and Lower Earley.

Tony Pettitt, Reading Buses Director of Resources, spoke about the partnership and the continued investment by the company to put the newest and cleanest vehicles on the University routes.

He said this had enabled Reading Buses to increase passenger numbers every year since the partnership began over six years ago – including an overall 10% increase last year and a great start to the new academic year with a 22% increase already this term compared to last year.

Pettitt said, “The increase in passenger numbers on claret is down to many factors.

Not only have we invested in new vehicles on the claret routes, but have increased the frequency between campus and the town to every five minutes and have claret buses running 24/7.

“This has seen the night traffic on the route increase by nearly 400% when compared to the old N21 which had one journey Monday to Thursday and three early morning journeys Friday and Saturday.

“We hope that more people, not just students, continue to use this service to get home safely and cheaply from their nights out.” 

The inauguration was the first official Reading Buses engagement for newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Martijn Gilbert who said the company had a history of working with the University and had expanded their products for students to offer them the best prices.

Gilbert said, “The partnership has seen our simplyUni range grow to include annual passes as well as unisaver 10 passes for students and staff which has encouraged occasional users to travel on the bus more regularly.

“We gave away over 5,000 unisaver 10 cards, with two free journeys, to first year students at the start of term and as a result have already seen a dramatic increase in people using these smartcards.”

He also paid tribute to the British built buses, adding,  “These buses are the cleanest diesel engines around and emit half the particulates of their predecessors and a quarter of the Nitrous Oxides (NoX). 

“They are also much lighter, improving fuel efficiency, something that is a growing point of interest for the industry.” 

The buses themselves are the newest on the market with Reading Buses being only the third operator in the country to have received them.

Some new technology for the company sees the buses fitted with on board systems to achieve the best performance and fuel efficiency as well as monitor the engine and electronics allowing the company’s engineering department to identify issues before they happen.

As is now becoming the Reading Buses standard, all the buses have audio/visual next stop announcements, external destination repeaters and free WiFi.  They also offer more leg room as well as lots of space for wheelchairs and buggies.

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