As the song goes, “the driver on the bus says – move on please” well that was very true on Saturday morning when the new Henley Town bus was unveiled and the bus was full with passengers wanting to get on and try it out for a free ride around town.
The new dark green Connect Henley-on-Thames branded bus will replace the yellow 151 – 154 buses run by Whites and started today (Monday 6 August) with additional new stops that include Townlands Memorial Hospital and Station Road.
The new bus service will run from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, (rather than the previous running time of 9am to 2:30pm). There will be three routes in operation, all of which start from Market Place and are hourly from 9.45am throughout the day. The buses use clean energy, as they run on gas, which will help in keeping pollution levels down in the town centre. All new bus timetables can be downloaded here. More details can be found at www.reading-buses.co.uk/connect-henley-thames
Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, Chair of the Bus Working Group said to the passengers on the bus, “I’m extremely pleased that we’ve got this brand new bus, which is reliable, will be kept clean inside and out and has air conditioning. I hope it will be provide a really good service to the community. Enjoy!” Henley Mayor, Councillor Glen Lambert added, “It’s brilliant that we’ve got this great new bus service and hope more people will now use it.”
Barry Orwin from Western Avenue was looking forward to having a ride on the new bus. He said, “I use the service every day to come into town to see my friends. My only suggestion would be that if the bus is coming from Reading in the morning it could take a loop around Western Avenue to pick up more people coming to work in Henley. I’d like to see the service extended back to Saturdays too.”
Jill Buckett whose mother is 87 and lives on Western Close said, “I’m concerned that the bus is not going past her road now and she’ll have to walk up the hill to Vicarage Road to get the bus.
Councillor Donna Crook who campaigned to save the bus as her Dad relied on it said, “I came back off holiday a day early to see this very long awaited service. I’m very happy and so will my Dad be. I plan to take him on it next week. I understand that there will be two drivers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon who are both people focused so will help everyone get on and off where they need to. It’s good to see that my idea of having it go up to the hospital is on the new route.
As well as a free ride on the new bus, passengers were given a Reading Buses goodie bags which included a water bottle, key ring, an eye mask, pens and a bottle of bubbles.
Tony Pettitt, Chief Finance & Information Officer from Reading Buses said; ‘We are delighted to have been chosen to run the local bus routes in Henley-on-Thames. We are looking to bring our knowledge and expertise to the town to encourage more residents and visitors to choose the bus by providing a great on-board experience and ensuring customers have all the information easily available on our website and app. We will be using one of our single deck buses that runs on compress natural gas (CNG) which means buses emit very few emissions when in service – and the natural bio-gas we buy is from a sustainable source meaning we can continue to contribute towards cleaner air in Henley-on-Thames well into the future.’