Reading Buses Open Day

Of the many things I like about Reading the bus service is right up there. There’s a clean, modern fleet with good coverage, an excellent app and they generally run to schedule. It’s interesting that Reading Buses is one of the few buses services that has remained in public ownership being still wholly owned by Reading Borough Council who resisted the temptation to sell when Maggie wanted them to.

Once a year they also hold an open day at their depot and we attended this weekend along with two very excited grandchildren. It’s interesting that over the last five years both the girls have had a fascination with buses, spotting them from the car and shouting “BUS!”. I’ve lost count of the amount of time I’ve sat on the ground at our local stop just waiting for a bus to come by to statisfy the needs of a two year old. There is also an educational element to this as each route has it’s own coloured buses. The iconic 17 route is light purple, the 26 yellow and so on which means that it’s been a great way to teach the girls their colours. It was clear as we arrived at the depot that this was not just our two as every adult seemed to be accompanied but at least one child.

The depot was filled with a variety of busses squeezed into a small space. There were lots of the current fleet, probably one of each colour plus some historic buses in the corporation colours and going even further back. The earliest bus dated from 1935. There were lots of opportunities for the kids to sit in the drivers seat and “drive” the bus while we took pictures.

The big highlight (for most of us, the youngest grandchild was not that keen) was a trip through the bus wash. They were running the same bus back and forth through it so it must have been the cleanest bus in the whole fleet by the end of the day! You paid £1 per person for this privilege but the money collected did go to the local hospital charity. You could also have your name on the electronic sign on the front of the bus but at £3 even I baukled at that.

It was all good fun but it was only as we were walking away later that I regretted not having my picture taken in the front seat of the bus. Oh well, something to look forward to for next year!

2 Replies to “Reading Buses Open Day”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have to admit, whilst many services have gotten worse over the years, the Reading Bus service now justifiably receiving way more compliments than complaints! I believe the 25 Service between Donkin Hill and Southcote still operates, as does the 22 Service to Horncastle – the bus I used to ride to school on in 1972 (the one-way fare was 3p).

    A great place to see old buses, double, and single decker, is the London Transport Museum, where they also have old London Underground trains.

    Glad the grandchildren enjoyed the drive through the wash – when my sister was 3 my Dad would take her through the car wash with him because she enjoyed it so much – even though she referred to it as ‘The Blue Death’!

    For me, retirement is only months away, so I hope to visit Reading as part of my ‘Revisit bucket list’!

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