Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Passengers flock to launch of new town bus service

Passengers flock to launch of new town bus service

ABOUT 50 people celebrated the launch of Henley’s new bus service on Saturday.

The gas-powered vehicle was unveiled in front of the town hall in Market Place with free giveaways and trips around town for residents.

Reading Buses is operating hourly services from the town centre, which run from 7am to 7pm every weekday.

There are three routes, all starting from Market Place. They are:

The 151, which serves Elizabeth Road, Greys Road and Gillotts School during term time.

The 152, which serves the station, Tesco and the Greys Road shops.

The 153, which serves Townlands Memorial Hospital and the Abrahams estate.

As well as stopping at the designated bus stops, the bus can be hailed by passengers anywhere on its route.

Funding for the new service was provided through the town council with contributions from developers.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, chairman of the council’s bus working group, said: “The launch was very well attended.

“The great thing was people saw what the bus actually looks like and I think they were quite impressed. It is clean, tidy, air-conditioned and, hopefully, will be reliable.

“It’s a community bus service that Henley Town Council is providing. We have a lot of isolated, elderly people who would stay at home if it didn’t exist.

“It’s also a low-pollution bus as it’s run on gas so there is an incentive for people to leave their cars at home and get on the bus.

“I would encourage people who don’t already use the bus to do so. It’s very good value — £2.50 for the whole day.”

Cllr Gawrysiak added: “Depending on how the figures work out, we will definitely look to add a Saturday service. It looks as though it’s viable.”

Tony Pettitt, interim chief executive of Reading Buses, said: “I’m really pleased with the amount of interest people showed.

“There was a great number at the start and steady footfall throughout the rest of the morning.”

Mr Pettitt said the passenger numbers on the first day of the new service on Monday were “encouraging”.

He added: “We knew that the town council was looking for a supplier that would improve not just the quality of the vehicles but also their environmental credentials.

“We felt we had a very compelling offer in terms of the gas vehicles — they are among the cleanest vehicles at the point of use.”

The bus is wheelchair accessible, with a ramp and designated wheelchair space, and will be cleaned inside and out every day.

Customers can track the progress of the bus on Reading Buses’ website or see when the next bus is due using a smartphone app.

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