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All aboard the nation's first 'solar powered buses'

It's a first not just for Brighton, but for the country. Two electric buses - powered by solar energy - have arrived in the city and are about to pick up passengers day and night.

They're completely carbon neutral and they hope to lead the charge in a revolution in sustainable transport.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to Norman Baker, Tom Druitt and Julia Fry.

Dorset bus drivers are due to strike on Monday

Emergency timetables are in place Credit: ITV

More than 100 bus drivers in Dorset are due to go on strike on Monday in a row over pay. Drivers working for First Dorset in Weymouth and Bridport are starting their eighth week of action. Emergency timetables have been put in place for services, and the company says it will minimise disruption for passengers.


Town's gas buses will be a world first

Martijn Gilbert, Reading Buses' CEO, signs official order for Scania gas double deckers with Mark Oliver, UK Bus & Coach Fleet Sales General Manager for Scania (GB) Ltd Credit: Reading Buses

Reading Buses are set to be the first bus company in the world running double decker buses powered by Compressed Natural Gas from a bio-methane source.

The new buses will be a welcome addition to the company's fleet of 34 single deck Scania gas buses. The five new double-deckers cost around £1.3 million and Reading Buses' Chief Executive Officer, Martijn Gilbert, says the fuel has proven both cost viable and reliable.

For passengers, the buses will have the latest Reading Buses interior including comfortable high back seating, USB charging sockets for mobile phones and tablets, free superfast 4G wi-fi and next stop audio and visual customer information systems.

Our gas buses are consistently high performers in terms of both reliability and customer appeal with considerably quieter and greener engines than conventional diesel vehicles.

We were the first UK operator of Scania’s gas single deck buses and our experience of these has proven the economic case to add more such vehicles within our existing depot infrastructure and come back three years later with yet another major order that is again a ‘first’ for gas buses.”

– John Bickerton, Chief Engineer, Reading Buses

Passengers impressed with bus service

Passengers rated Reading Buses' service highly Credit: Reading Buses

A Berkshire bus company has reached the top five in a passenger survey.

Almost one thousand people were questioned by Transport Focus, the independent transport users watchdog.

Reading Buses gained a satisfaction score of ninety three per cent - well above the national average.

The rise in our overall satisfaction score reflects our commitment to continually improving our services and growing customer numbers. This is achieved through an unrelenting focus on the needs of our customers and is backed up with ongoing investing in the latest technology and facilities both on and off our buses."

– Martijn Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer, Reading Buses

Man clings to back of bus for free ride home

This man was photographed clinging to the back of a bus in Bournemouth Credit: @ry4njd

A man has been photographed catching a free ride home by clinging to the back of a bus in Bournemouth.

The passenger was spotted holding on to the back of the yellow bus as it made its way through the busy city centre on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Yellow Buses company said the behaviour of the man is "astonishingly stupid, not to mention illegal."

The company is urging anyone who sees such anti-social behaviour to call and alert the police.

Arriva bus drivers strike in Medway

Bus passengers in Medway have had to make their own way to school, work or the shops today, as more than two hundred Arriva drivers went on strike in a row over timetable changes. The company worked out the new timetable this summer, but forgot that it was the school holidays. When pupils returned to school, the traffic increased drastically and drivers couldn't keep up. Arriva bosses have apologised. But as Andrea Thomas reports, the unions are accusing them of sheer incompetence. She spoke to Dave Weeks from Unite the union and Simon Baxter from Arriva.


Bus drivers on strike in row over timetables

The bus drivers are unhappy about new timetables Credit: ITV

Arriva bus drivers in Medway have gone on strike today in a dispute over timetables.

Last month around 210 Arriva drivers were balloted on whether to take industrial action. Their union, Unite, says the timetables are “unachievable and unsafe”.

The strike runs from 0500 today until 0500 on Saturday. There will be another strike from 0500 Monday to 0500 on Tuesday.

Detectives investigate assault on Kent bus

Police released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in connection with the assault Credit: Kent Police

Kent Police has released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak following an assault on a bus in Canterbury.

Officers are investigating the assault on a 16-year-old boy who was on the bus with a friend on Sunday 15 February.

As the vehicle travelled along St Dunstans Street at 2.15pm, a man sitting in front of the teenager punched him in the face. The offender then got up and began shouting before getting off the bus.

A CCTV image of the man police would like to speak to has now become available and officers are appealing for people with information about his identity to come forward.

He is described as white, aged in his 50s, approximately 5ft 10ins tall, medium build, with grey hair. He was wearing a green and brown blazer with dark-coloured trousers.

Anyone with information about the assault, which left the boy with bruising to his face, is asked to call PC Jodie Bryan at Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting reference ZY/004773/15.

Changes to bus services in Reading

Changes to some Reading Buses services are open to consultation until April 28. The company is requesting feedback of views on the planned changes which will affect services north of the Thames.

These changes will also have implications for residents in Burghfield, Mortimer and along the Bath Road in Reading. They will come into effect on July 7.

The company has said that the changes are largely positive and all changes are either to help reliability or reflect the number of people travelling on each route.

Caversham area routes have held steady now for some while, but it’s now time to make a few adjustments to keep up with developments. These proposals will help us to align service levels with demand, particularly on Sundays. Meanwhile, the splitting of the long cross-town route from Peppard Common to Mortimer has become inevitable to avoid congestion around Reading Bridge affecting the southern end of the route.”

– James Freeman, Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer
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