In a date with destiny (May 19 2015 to be exact) we set a new land speed record for a service bus at the world renowned Millbrook Proving Ground. You can see the video below or check out the videos our YouTube channel.
A big cheer went up when our 'Bus Hound' service bus proved itself to be the fastest bus in the world. A culmination of #projectvroom, the single deck vehicle achieved a top speed of 80.73 miles per hour and an average speed over a full lap of 76.785 mph, setting a new record in the process.
The record was set using a bus running running on Biomethane Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). With the distinctive ‘cow’ livery, Bus Hound has proven the value of ‘cow poo power.’ The bus has no major modifications and was back in service in Reading the following morning.
There was a serious side to the record attempt - the promotion of compressed natural gas, and biomethane in particular, as a credible, sustainable and clean power source for transport.
Our Chief Executive Officer, Martijn Gilbert said on the day, “This is fantastic. What a great advert for biomethane which is growing in popularity each day. At Reading Buses, we love it. Thirty four vehicles, 20% of our fleet, are now CNG powered and we can’t wait for vehicle suppliers to widen their product range so that we can take even greater advantage of this carbon neutral and cost effective solution.
CNG is not only good for the environment, but its use and promotion has led to noticeable customer growth too. Only four weeks ago a fellow operator of a fleet of identical buses stated in a recent survey 92% of their customers preferred them to standard buses.
Ninety three percent said they offered a smoother, more comfortable ride while 94% agreed that the bus was quieter with much less engine noise. Most importantly, 40% said they now travel more than previously*. These are impressive statistics and they echo our experiences with these buses in Reading.
With our supporting partners today we are setting out to raise the profile of biomethane CNG powered commercial vehicles and demonstrate that this is a real, credible fuel source."
* Source = Stagecoach Sunderland. April 2015
The company also want to challenge old fashioned perceptions of bus travel of being stuck in the dark ages and also promote science, technology and innovation in our industry.
With help from our ticket machine supplier, Ticketer, we also issued what we believe to be the world’s fastest bus tickets, remotely sold while the bus was in motion. Over 80 tickets were issued, some when the bus was travelling at well over 70 miles an hour. We are going to sell them as souvenirs at their Open Day on June 14 - when our 'World's Fastest Bus' will be on display.
Without our sponsors, suppliers and supporters, we could not have achieved this record, so it's a big thank you to all of them:
Reading Buses sponsors were Ticketer, Nimbus, Millbrook, Scania, ADL, Gas Bus Alliance, Brooklands Museum, TEK seating & USSC, route-ONE magazine, Numbercraft, Michelin Solutions,Mix Telematics, CILT, IMechE and Best Impressions.