I have often seen the buses leaving Wycombe heading towards Reading.
A few days ago a friend of mine happened to be visiting Reading for the day and they invited my good self along. Naturally I accepted their offer.
After boarding the 850 omnibus at High Wycombe Bus Station we paid the driver the princely sum of £7 each for a return trip to Reading. Now that’s jolly good value considering it’s roughly a sixty mile round trip by the most direct route.
I was really looking forward to the trip with great expectation indeed the bus operator was even named after Arrivus, who we all know was the Roman God of transport.
After negotiating the exit of the bus station in Bridge Street we were on our way. Soon we were leaving the safety of High Wycombe and entering the uncharted territory on the other side of the Handy Cross roundabout.
Passing through Marlow we travelled down the A4155 into Henley on the Marlow Road, then into Bell Street where we took a sharp left into New Street and went past the river. We then turned into Hart Street where the bus stopped for a while to pick up passengers.
Sadly a ‘no right turn’ sign prevented us from turning left onto the A4155 and instead the bus turned right in the direction of Bell Street and again into New Street passing by the river for a second time. By George we were going around in a circle! For a second time we arrived at the bridge over the river bus turned into Thameside before joining the A4155.
It would appear that the ‘no right turn’ in Hart Street is sending buses in circles around the centre of Henley. Truly unbelievable!
After going down country lanes and other minor roads we found ourselves on the outskirts of Reading.
My good self was expecting to make a grand entrance in Reading when stepping off the bus. Indeed I was expectant that perhaps Reading still had a magnificent brutalist bus station like the Newlands bus station that once graced Wycombe town centre.
It was very disappointing to find that the terminus of the 850 bus was a bland, undistinguished bus shelter beside the road in Friar Street.
After alighting from the bus we took a few steps back on the pavement to get our bearings only to discover a group of passers by attending to a vagrant who had apparently collapsed behind the bus shelter.
By George! They say first impressions count and my first impressions of Reading were a total disgrace.
After spending a day in Reading we returned to the bus shelter and after a few moments the bus to High Wycombe arrived.
Showing the driver our tickets we took our seats. The queue of passengers made their way onto the bus to reveal a drunken tramp standing beside the road who, with a tinny held firmly in his hand, was shouting abuse at us in a raucous manner.
Whilst travelling on the bus was a most pleasant experience I was jolly glad to leave Reading. Thankfully we returned home to Wycombe safely.
In conclusion I think Wycombe is lucky to a proper bus station in Bridge Street even if it’s not as good as the magnificent Newlands Bus Station that once graced our town.
At least visitors to Wycombe are greeted at a modern, state of the art, brightly lit facility and not turned out at a bus shelter beside the road with vagrants milling around.
As they say first impressions count and the facilities that greet visitors to Wycombe are far more impressive then those in Reading.
What do you think?
*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.