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Bus Hound

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.


just a bit of fun?

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.

fastest ticket

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.

a global phenomenon

The record attempt has truly captured people's imaginations, with some fantastic coverage not only nationally through the BBC (on May 20, the story was the 5th most read on the BBC website!) but globally too. We have had reports of the story being covered in India, New Zealand, Germany, Poland, Norway, Kazakhstan and Martijn was even interviewed on Canadian radio! 
This is not only great news for us and for Reading, but also for our aim to have CNG and biomethane noticed as the future fuel of the industry.

impossible without our sponsors

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.

And we cannot fail to mention our Chief Engineer, John Bickerton, whose idea this originally was, nor his team of engineering experts who all pulled together magnificently to help deliver this record so professionally.

A bit about the bus and more

Bus Hound 

The bus has a cow print front and a tagline on the side that reads 'the fastest bus in the world' including the hashtag #projectvroom. The code name for the bus itself is Bus Hound, which a homage to the Bloodhound SSC team who are attempting to go slightly faster than we did in breaking the actual land speed record - at 1000mph. 

hound or cow?

So if the name of the bus is Bus Hound, why have we put cow print on the front? The new livery reflects the fact that the gas we buy to help run these buses comes from farm waste product... cow poo in other words! The serious side to our record attempt is to help promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a viable fuel and biomethane in particular. 
We buy our gas from the Gas Vehicle Alliance and it is certified carbon neutral due to the method of production and collection. 

is it really be the fastest bus?

We know that there are 'buses' out there that have either been made or modified to go at breakneck speeds. Whilst they may be called buses by their manufacturers or owners, they are more like souped up taxis or, in at least one case, a chassis with a jet engine strapped to it. None of these 'buses' are a regular scheduled service bus that picks up passengers!
We used a normal service bus, with minor tweaks to allow the bus to go faster than normal. At the end of the record, everything was put back and the bus is now back in service around the streets of Reading.