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ReadiBus Vehicles

'You see them everywhere'

ReadiBuses are extra-long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinters with a passenger lift at the rear to enable door-to-door operation in narrow streets where there is double car-parking on either side of the street.

There are currently 22 ReadiBuses in service.

ReadiBuses are configured for interchangeable capacity including accommodating up to three people travelling in wheelchairs at a time.

The nature of the service means that ReadiBuses get into every nook and cranny of Reading, clocking up nearly 300,000 miles locally in 2019/20.

New buses are frequently sponsored or supported by legacy giving. Because the fleet is relatively small every new bus is an event. Old vehicles meanwhile often continue their lives in other parts of the world, providing transport in the developing world.

Readibus New 1988 Page Lawrence Bowlby

Current Chair Dr Sophie Bowlby joins Cllr Tony Page and Mayor of Reading Doris Lawrence in 1988 with a new arrival to the ReadiBus fleet.

Readibus New 1993 Sohpal

In 1993 Reading's Mayor, Cllr Rajinder Sophal did the honours at Reading Civic Centre

Readibus 25 Nash Page Gurney

In 2006 the ReadiBus silver jubliee bus remembered founder Bunty Nash with Cllr Tony Page and then Chair, Prof Robert Gurney.

Readibus New 2007 Lions

The Woodley and Earley Lions Club sponsored the latest ReadiBus in 2007.

Readibus 2012 Cllr Edwards 

Reading Mayor Cllr Deb Edwards reveals the new ReadiBus in 2011

Readibus 2013 Woolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation sponsored a new arrival in 2013

Readibus New 2013 Crowd

Bringing out a crowd for the launch in 2013

Terry Mrs Bell Mrs Mears Cllr Kate Haines Cllr Keith Baker Sophie Peter

 A new bus launched in Wokingham in April 2013.

Cllr Keith Baker (second from right), executive member for highways and planning at Wokingham Borough Council, said:“ReadiBus provides a valuable service for our residents with restricted mobility because it gives them the freedom to live their daily lives. We’re delighted to be able to support this valued community service.”

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Outside the Civic Offices in Reading in March 2015 and a new bus dedicated to Pete Ruhemann.

Pete Ruhemann first became involved with ReadiBus in 1983 and was a member of the ReadiBus Board at the time of his passing in 2014. He was a champion of equality and access issues in Reading and amongst other responsibilities was Chair of Reading Borough Council’s Access & Disabilities Working Group.

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 The then Mayor of Reading, Councillor Tony Jones, said: “Cllr Pete Ruhemann was a true champion of equality and access in Reading. He relentlessly fought for better outcomes for disabled people in Reading and it is fitting that this new ReadiBus will be dedicated to his memory”.

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Also launched in 2015 was this bus - at the football club’s Hogwood training ground with 6 of Reading FC’s playing squad and the team’s manager at the time, Steve Clark, as well as Brian Deards (father of Gary Deards), Ian Maynard of STAR (far right) and some users of the ReadiBus football service.

The bus is dedicated to the memory of Gary Deards, a former user of the service, member of STAR (Supporters Trust at Reading) and Vice-Chair of Level Playing Field, the national charity that campaigns for better access for disabled people in football. Gary Deards was an expert in the field of accessible stadia and sporting venues and worked tirelessly to try to improve the experiences of disabled sports spectators across England and Wales. He passed away in March 2014.

The bus was given the fleet number 106 – a number known to Royals fans for the record points total in the 2005-6 championship winning season.

Ian Maynard, Board Member of the Supporters’ Trust at Reading (STAR) commented at the time, “It is an honour for STAR to be involved with this. Gary was well liked and he worked very hard and effectively on behalf of disabled football fans. We look forward to the new bus being well used in this season and in the future.”

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In March 2016 a new bus was dedicated to Jim & Paddy Day, with their family in attendance. 

Jim and Paddy Day became involved with ReadiBus in its early days. Paddy Day was passionate about disability issues and campaigned to improve access for disabled people. This led to her involvement, with others, in the setting up of the ReadiBus in 1981 and she remained involved, serving on the ReadiBus Board for many years. She herself was disabled from Polio.

Bus 40 Launch 11 April 17

18 charitable trusts/foundations and over 150 individual donors came together to raise the £52,000 needed for this addition to the ReadiBus fleet in April 2017. Fund-raising activities included abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth and a host of runners taking part in Reading’s annual half-marathon. Over 50 service-users attended the launch that was kindly hosted by St Joseph’s College in Reading.

 Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport at Reading Borough Council, Cllr Tony Page, commented: “ReadiBus provides a hugely valuable service for many people in Reading and this is clearly demonstrated by the level of goodwill and generosity shown in this fundraising campaign. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in raising the money to buy this modern new bus and I look forward to seeing it carrying passengers around Reading for many years to come.”

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Launched at The Crescent Community Centre in Lower Earley in May 2017 with support from The Earley Charity.

 The Chair of Trustees of The Earley Charity, Robert Ames, said: “The Earley Charity is delighted to support the ReadiBus service and to continue our long tradition of supporting our local community.”

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A dozen young volunteers provided tea cake sandwiches and good company for some local users of the ReadiBus service as part of this welcome of a new bus into the ReadiBus service in Coley Park in August 2017. The Mayor of Reading, Cllr Rose Williams, was on hand to ‘cut the ribbon’.

Chronicle Photo 

Cllr Rose Williams in the driving seat hands over the keys to Chair Prof Sophie Bowlby and ReadiBus Team Leader Terry Husbands (photo courtesy of Reading Chronicle).