Thames Travel

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Thames Travel logo.PNG
Volvo B7TL Wright EclipseGemini LX06 EAF Abingdon.jpg
ParentGo-Ahead Group
FoundedApril 1998
HeadquartersCollett, Southmead Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 7ET
Service areaSouthern Oxfordshire
Service typeBus services
DestinationsAbingdon, Bicester, Didcot, Faringdon, Henley-on-Thames, Oxford, Reading, Wallingford, Watlington and Wantage
Fleet58 (September 2016)
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.


Thames Travel was founded on 14 April 1998 by John Wright with four buses. He expanded his business by winning subsidised bus contracts awarded by Oxfordshire County Council and unitary councils in Berkshire, and by taking over work from operators who ceased trading such as Tillingbourne Bus Company in 2001.[2] and Chiltern Queens of Woodcote in 2011. Thames Travel also benefited from operators including First Berkshire & The Thames Valley, Reading Buses and Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, giving up commercial work.[citation needed][clarification needed]

In May 2011 the Go-Ahead Group bought Thames Travel.[3][4]

Branded routes[edit]

River Rapids[edit]

A Thames Travel River Rapids bus in St Aldates, Oxford, on route X38 to Henley-on-Thames. The bus is a Scania N230UD with an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 body.

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.[5][6]


A Wright StreetLite bus in Thames Travel Connector livery at Didcot Parkway railway station on route 98 to Great Western Park

Routes X2 and NX2 link Abingdon, the Milton Park business park (X2 only) or Great Western Park (NX2 only) and Didcot with Oxford and Wallingford.[7]

Routes 33, X32 and X33 serve Milton Park, Didcot and Wantage; routes 33 and X32 also serve Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The 33 and X33 also serve Abingdon via Sutton Courtenay and Culham and the X32 runs non-stop between Oxford and Milton Park.[8]

Route X34 links Harwell Campus and Oxford running during peak hours, this is a non stop service.

Route 38 links Wantage and Grove.[9]

Routes 67 and 67C link Wantage and Faringdon.[10]

Routes 97, 98, 98A and 99 serve the Great Western Park housing estate in Didcot. Route 97 links it with Didcot Broadway, Routes 98 and 98A link it with Didcot Parkway railway station, and route 99 links it with Milton Park.[11]

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 September 2016 the fleet consisted of 58 buses and four vans.[12] The fleet is now numbered in the Oxford Bus Company series.[13]

The most numerous vehicles in the fleet are Mercedes-Benz Citaro single-deckers transferred from Oxford Bus Company. Other single deckers include two Wright StreetLites. The fleet has several types of double decker, including Alexander Dennis Enviro400 buses, some with Scania N230UD chassis, all transferred from Oxford Bus Co. Other double deckers include a few Volvo B7TL and B5TL buses with Wright Eclipse Gemini and Wright Gemini 3 bodies and a few Scania OmniCity buses.


Thames Travel's depot is in Didcot. It has out-stations in Reading and at Oxford Bus Company's depot in Oxford.

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 Dennis Dart SLF bus with MCV Evolution body, fleet number 155. 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. The bus was replaced with the next intake of new vehicles.[14] The two brothers arrested after the incident were convicted and jailed for a total of 15 years for the accident.[15]

The second accident was on 28 January 2008. An MAN 14.220 bus with MCV Evolution body, fleet number 256, 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.[16]

The third accident was on 14 October 2014. A Mercedes-Benz Citaro, fleet number 853, collided with a van on the A4074, leaving the bus driver and a passenger injured.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Thames Travel (Wallingford) Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Tillingbourne". Bus Zone.
  3. ^ Smith, Andrew (29 May 2011). "No changes at Thames Travel says outgoing boss". Oxford Mail. Newsquest Oxfordshire.
  4. ^ "Go-Ahead buys 35-vehicle Thames Travel". Bus and Coach. Plum Publishing Ltd. 8 June 2011. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013.
  5. ^ "River Rapids from Thames Travel". Buses. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  6. ^ "River Rapids" (pdf). Thames Travel. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  7. ^ "route X2/NX2" (pdf). Thames Travel. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  8. ^ "route X32/X33/33" (pdf). Thames Travel. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  9. ^ "route 38" (pdf). Thames Travel. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  10. ^ "route 67/67C" (pdf). Thames Travel. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  11. ^ "route 97/98/98A/99" (pdf). Thames Travel. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Thames Travel fleet list". Bus Zone. Robert Williams. 19 September 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Spottings & Jottings Issue nr 56". Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page. Malcolm Crowe. 28 March 2012.
  14. ^ ""I beg you to help police"". Reading Evening Post. Trinity Mirror. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Jailed over death of bride-to-be". Reading Evening Post. Trinity Mirror. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  16. ^ "Five hurt in bus crash". Reading Evening Post. Trinity Mirror. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  17. ^ "Bus crash on A4074 in Oxfordshire leaves four injured". BBC News. BBC. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014.

External links[edit]