Refurb delivers bus that is ‘better than new’ for Reading

Reading’s latest passenger standards are delivered in showcase £25k refurbishment

A partnership between Reading Buses, Bus and Coach World (BCW) and 13 suppliers has delivered a refurbished bus that is ‘better than new’.

It was unveiled today (Tuesday) at the ALBUM conference, being held on the Isle of Man this week.

Former London interior transformed to be ‘better than new’, including at-seat USB and free 4G Wi-Fi

Driven by the need to meet December’s PSVAR deadline, Reading bought seven 12/13-year-old former Arriva London DAF DB250 Gemini ‘deckers. They replace non-compliant Tridents in Reading’s schools fleet, now brought back in house after the end of its arrangement with Birmingham-based The Green Bus.

The first six were converted by BCW to single-door, with a manual ramp and new nearside wheelchair position, and upseated from 69 to 72. New flooring and Hanover LED destination displays were fitted, alongside an external repaint into Reading’s standard non-branded two-tone grey livery.

For the seventh bus, BCW – working with it suppliers – has delivered a superior product which MD Robert Hilton says is the most comprehensive yet for a ‘standard’ service bus.

“Including the secondhand retail price of £18,000 for the bus, you’ve got a new bus for £43,000, compared with £250,000 for the same in brand new form,” says BCW Director Philip Hilton.

The £25,000 project, compared with £15,000 each for the other six, has produced an outstanding result, says Reading Buses CEO Martijn Gilbert. “These are better now than they were when new to London.

“The idea was sparked at last year’s ALBUM when we saw a refurbishment by BCW for Halton Transport,” says Mr Gilbert.

“Although this vehicle is mainly for schools, we needed something of good quality that could work in the peaks alongside our main fleet and doesn’t look out of place.”

Upstairs table bay – with good legroom – fitted alongside a ‘social seating area’ for five at the top of the stairs.

Externally, the most striking aspect is fitting the latest Gemini 3 front; internally it’s the fitting of an upstairs table bay – with good legroom – and a ‘social seating area’ for five at the top of the stairs.

The social seating also works alongside Reading’s group tickets for up to five people. There is a USB socket for every seated passenger and free 4G Wi-Fi is provided.

Says Mr Gilbert: “It brings in a flavour of our interior design concept. It also draws on our Claret Spritzer university buses (routeONE, News, 23 September 2015) using elements that are the most portable to mainstream buses.”

Elsewhere in the interior, handpoles have been powder-coated Astral Silver, side walls and GRP mouldings sprayed in two-pack grey, and LED cove lighting and blue aisle LEDs are fitted.

The existing seats have been re-cushioned, re-trimmed, and converted from Esteban Civic 2 (with a handhold) to Civic 3 with real leather headrests into which Reading’s logo is stitched.

Says Mr Hilton: “We are grateful to all our suppliers who have supported this project to showcase what is possible in a refurbishment.”

Exernally, it is painted using Glasurit’s two-pack system including an anti-scratch coating wih a five-year guarantee.

The suppliers taking part in the project are: Alfatronix, Altro Transflor, Bus Electrical, Camira, Compak Ramps, Glasurit, Hanover, McKenna Brothers, Morelli Group, NM Fibreglass, Powder Coatings Northern, Ribblesdale Auto Electrics and Whittakers Embroidery.

Externally, the most striking aspect is fitting the latest Gemini 3 front, with its styling making it look brand new