Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Henley Hopper bus service returns with new operator

Henley Hopper bus service returns with new operator

A NEW bus service for Henley will be launched on Tuesday.

TK Travel, an award-winning family firm based near Burghfield, has been appointed by the town council to run the service, called the “Henley Hopper”.

It takes over from Reading Buses, which decided to stop providing the 151, 152 and 153 routes in April.

The new 22-seat bus will use the previous routes, with an extension to serve the Highlands Park development, off Greys Road. The route numbers remain the same.

The bus will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 2pm  rather than from Monday to Saturday previously.

If the service is successful, the council and TK Travel hope to extend it. The not-for-profit service is supported by contributions from developers as well as a subsidy from the town council, which has helped fund the routes since Oxfordshire County Council removed all its bus subsidies in 2016.

The total value of the five-year contract is £217,355 and the council will pay TK Travel a fixed fee of about £280 per day to run the service.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who chairs the council’s bus group, said the bus service was important as it meant people could leave their cars at home, thereby improving air quality and freeding up parking spaces.

TK Travel, which was voted best minibus and coach hire company in the South-East last year, has been run by Katie Gripton for more than 10 years, working alongside her partner Tony Floyd. The company is responsible for delivering rail replacement services during Henley Royal Regatta as well as a school service between Henley and St Joseph’s College in Reading.

Miss Gripton, from Burghfield Common, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Henley Town Council to deliver the bus service for the Henley community.

“We are a family-run company and we put customer service and the community at the heart of what we do. We are looking forward to starting the new service next week.”

The bus has a Euro VI diesel engine, compared with the old gas engine used by Reading Buses.

It has low access, space for wheelchairs and shopping trolleys and air conditioning. The number of passengers will be limited to 12 and the bus will be sanitised. All passengers will have to wear face masks while hand gel will be provided.

The bus remains hail and ride and if the driver can safely stop, it will pull in whenever it’s flagged down. Concessionary bus passes are valid on the service.

Timetables can be collected from the town hall or on the bus and will be delivered to all houses in the town too. They can also be seen at www.tktravelltd.com

TK Travel can be contacted on 0118 970 0600.

• A low key launch will be held at outside the town hall at 10am next Saturday (October 17)  when residents are invited to come and see the bus, meet staff from TK Travel and see the cleaning processes that the company uses.

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