Thames Travel

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Thames Travel logo.PNG
Volvo B7TL Wright EclipseGemini LX06 EAF Abingdon.jpg
ParentGo-Ahead Group
FoundedApril 14, 1998; 24 years ago (1998-04-14)
HeadquartersCollett, Southmead Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 7ET
Service areaSouthern Oxfordshire
Service typeBus services
DestinationsAbingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Headington, Henley-on-Thames, Oxford, Reading, Wallingford and Wantage
Fleet80 (May 2021)
Chief executivePhil Southall
WebsiteThames Travel

Thames Travel[1] is a bus operator serving the southern part of the English county of Oxfordshire. It is based in Didcot and is a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group.

In May 2011 the Go-Ahead Group bought Thames Travel.[2][3]

Branded routes[edit]

River Rapids[edit]

A Scania N230UD bus with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 body in River Rapids livery in Oxford

Early in its history Thames Travel began a direct bus service between Oxford and Reading via Wallingford. This comprises two routes: the X40 which runs via Woodcote, and the X39 which bypasses Woodcote. The company also operates a service to Henley-on-Thames and Wallingford, which until 2017 was numbered 139, ran seven days a week and terminated at Wallingford.

At the end of October 2017 Thames Travel withdrew the Sunday service from route 139, but extended the Monday to Saturday service from Wallingford to Oxford and renumbered the revised route X38. It retimetabled the X38, X39 and X40 to provide a service every 20 minutes between Wallingford and Oxford. It has branded the three routes "River Rapids" and applied prominent graphics to its dedicated fleet to promote it.[4][5]


A Wright StreetDeck bus in Thames Travel Connector livery at Didcot Parkway on route X2 to Oxford

The Connector brand is used for Didcot focused services,[6] and covers routes between Didcot and Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, Wantage, Grove, East Hanney, Marcham, Harwell Campus, JR Hospital, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Great Western Park and Milton Park.[7][8] The Connector brand also covers the Science Transit Shuttle, which operates between Oxford and Harwell Campus and between Wytham and the JR Hospital, under contract from the University of Oxford.[9][10] The Connector routes have a dedicated fleet in a livery of two-tone grey with a light green coachline, and "Connector" graphics promoting the route.


As of June 2021 the fleet comprised 78 vehicles: 44 double-decker buses, 28 single-deck buses, two minibuses and two vans. The fleet is now numbered in the Oxford Bus Company series.[11]

Fleet Numbers Chassis Body Years New Number Owned Livery Image
Scania N230UD Alexander Dennis Enviro400 2009–2010 13 Blue/green,
Scania AlexanderDennis Enviro400 AF10 OXF Blewbury (cropped).jpg
246-248 Scania N94UD East Lancs Omnidekka 2005 3 Green
441–442 Integral Wright Streetlite 2016 2 Connector,
Milton Park
Wright StreetLite SK66 HRN Didcot Parkway (cropped).jpg
Integral Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMC 2019–2020 7 Connector AlexanderDennis Enviro200 MMC YX69 NVK Oxford BroadSt.jpg
621–623 Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3 2018 3 Connector,
Milton Park
Volvo Wright Gemini3 BN68 XRO Didcot GreenwoodWay (cropped).jpg
Integral Mercedes-Benz Citaro 2006–2008 15 Blue/green,
Mercedes-Benz Citaro CF57 OXF Oxford StAldates 1.jpg
873–875 Mercedes-Benz OC500LE MCV Evolution 2011 3 Green Mercedes-Benz MCV Evolution AE61 EWP Berinsfield FaneDrive cropped.jpg
904–909 Integral Wright StreetDeck 2020 6 Connector,
Milton Park
Wright StreetDeck NK20 EKO DidcotPky 1.jpg
Integral Scania OmniCity 2008–2009 5 Blue/green
Thames Travel OU08HGO.jpg
933–937, 939, 942 Volvo B7TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 2005–2006 7 Blue/green Volvo B7TL Wright EclipseGemini LX06 EAF Abingdon.jpg


Thames Travel's depot is in Didcot, with a capacity for more than 100 buses. Weavaway coaches rents space from Thames Travel in their depot. It also has out-stations in Reading and at Oxford Bus Company's depot in Oxford. The outstation in Reading is at the Reading Buses depot and currently has one vehicle based there for route 143.[12]

Notable incidents[edit]

Thames Travel vehicles have been involved in three major accidents, reported in the local media. All were on the A4074 road, nicknamed locally the "13 bends of death".

The first accident was on 21 July 2006. A 26-year-old woman was killed when her car collided head-on with a Thames Travel bus. It was found that the woman was taking avoiding action to prevent her car from colliding with two cars that were coming towards her, whose drivers had been recklessly overtaking numerous other cars before the accident. As a result of the collision both vehicles caught fire and were completely destroyed.[13] The two brothers arrested after the incident were convicted and jailed for a total of 15 years for the accident.[14]

The second accident was on 28 January 2008. A Thames Travel single-decker bus collided in fog with a Land Rover that was turning off the road across the bus's path. The Land Rover landed on its side; the bus in a ditch. The accident was on the A4074 at its junction with the B4526 road. Five people were injured.[15]

The third accident was on 14 October 2014. A Thames Travel bus collided with a van on the A4074, leaving the bus driver and a passenger injured.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Thames Travel (Wallingford) Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  2. ^ Smith, Andrew (29 May 2011). "No changes at Thames Travel says outgoing boss". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire.
  3. ^ "Go-Ahead buys 35-vehicle Thames Travel". Bus and Coach. Plum Publishing Ltd. 8 June 2011. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013.
  4. ^ "River Rapids from Thames Travel". Buses. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  5. ^ "River Rapids" (pdf). Thames Travel. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  6. ^ Ffrench, Andy (29 December 2017). "Millions choose to let buses take the strain". Oxford Mail. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  7. ^ Ffrench, Andrew (12 September 2018). "New bus service links Great Western Park and Milton Park". Oxford Mail. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Timetables, Maps & Guides". Thames Travel. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  9. ^ Ffrench, Andrew. "New Science Transit Shuttle bus connects Oxford and Harwell Campus". Oxford Mail. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Science Transit Shuttle". Thames Travel. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Thames Travel Fleet List" (PDF). Thames Travel. 14 June 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Thames Travel (Wallingford) Ltd". Vehicle Operator Licensing. Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  13. ^ ""I beg you to help police"". Reading Evening Post. Trinity Mirror. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  14. ^ "Jailed over death of bride-to-be". Reading Evening Post. Trinity Mirror. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Five hurt in bus crash". Reading Evening Post. Trinity Mirror. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  16. ^ "Bus crash on A4074 in Oxfordshire leaves four injured". BBC News. BBC. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014.

External links[edit]