A heads-up from a regular reader this morning saw me post a quick message on the blog’s social media channels saying that I’d heard Reading Buses had agreed terms to acquire Bracknell-based Courtney Buses. No official announcement had been made publicly that I could find, but I had been sent what looked to be a statement written by Reading Buses’ CEO, but which did have some of the wording cut off. A news article later appeared on the Coach & Bus Week magazine website, with figures within Reading Buses also then later tweeting about the acquisition.
Reading Buses currently have a little presence in our area in the form of their Tiger 7 between Fleet and Reading, and their contract with National Express to run the Woking to Heathrow Airport 925. Their acquisition of Courtney Buses, which we believe will be merged with their Slough-based ‘Thames Valley’ operation around the Summer, will see them enter our area in additional locations. Camberley sees the half-hourly 194 to Bracknell and Tues/Thurs 598 to Little Sandhurst, whilst a corporate contract for The Heights business park links Brooklands and Weybridge.
Reading Buses already operate beyond Reading itself. Their ‘Kennections’ and recently acquired ‘Newbury & District’ brands operate around Newbury, whilst their ‘Thames Valley’ name can be seen on routes around Slough. The latter is also served by their two Greenline routes, whilst a ‘Henley Connect’ brand operates some daytime town circular services previously served by Whites Coaches. The acquisition of the expansive Courtney Buses business will see Reading Buses’ prescense increase in places such as Wokingham, Bracknell, Henley, Maidenhead, Windsor and Slough. It’ll also take them to new places with the corporate work such as Didcot, Micheldever, Basingstoke and Weybridge. They will become a real prescense along a fair stretch of the M4 corridor.
Reading Buses are recognised for their investment in a modern fleet of vehicles and willingness to try new innovations, so the acquisition shouldn’t be too much of a worry for current Courtney passengers. That said, Courtney themselves certainly don’t shy away from offering a smart modern fleet with innovations of their own over the years! We’d like to wish Bill Courtney-Smith all the best for his planned retirement and look forward to seeing what Reading Buses do with their latest business acquisition. One has to wonder where they might they end up next?!