Growing up in London and without a family car, meant routinely travelling by bus. We were forever jumping on the backend of a Routemaster to get to school, to visit family, to shop and for family days out. By the time I was ten, Dad had bought a car and so travelling by bus became infrequent. Then, at seventeen, I passed my driving test and took to the roads myself. Since then, I could probably count on two hands, how many times I have travelled by bus.
More recently, getting around by car seems to be getting increasingly stressful. The roads are so much busier, the cost of fuel and general upkeep of a car is just stupid, and let’s not forget the parking issues. As a parent of two toddlers, parking can be an absolute nightmare. Parking problems have been known to put me off travelling to certain areas.
The new River Rapids Bus service
Recently, The Go-Ahead Group got in contact with us, to introduce us to their new River Rapids Bus routes operated by Thames Travel. The new bus routes, X38, X39 and X40, offer comfortable, family friendly travel between Oxford – Wallingford – Henley and Reading.
The River Rapids bus service operates a mixture of newly refurbished and spacious double-deck and single-deck buses. Each offering free 4G Wi-Fi and contactless payment systems on board. Tickets can be bought as singles, returns, unlimited travel in a day, multi-trip or season tickets.
The routes offer terrific trips along the Thames and easy access to some great attractions between Oxford and Reading. Fantastic shopping locations including the new Westgate Centre in Oxford and Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading. Tourist attractions such as Oxford Castle, Cholsey & Wallingford Railway and Henley’s River & Rowing Museum. Boat trips, riverside walks, tours and trails can all be enjoyed along the route too.
Ticket prices, route timetables and details of fun things-to-do along the new River Rapids Bus route are available on the Thames Travel Website.
Travelling the River Rapids Bus Service
Yesterday, we travelled between Oxford and Wallingford using the new bus service. We boarded a X40 single-deck bus and purchased a family ticket. This offers one days unlimited travel for up to 2 adults and up to 3 children for just £15 (under 5s go free!).
The heating on the bus was most welcome, as it was a very cold day. The bus was clean and spacious, with plenty of room for wheelchair users, pushchairs, and luggage.
It was the first time that the boys had been on a bus, and so the journey was a little adventure in itself. It was lovely to take some timeout from driving, as I could focus on the boys and enjoy the pretty views along the way. It’s surprising how much more you get to see when you aren’t sat behind the wheel.
We enjoyed a few hours in Wallingford, where we stopped for lunch, did a little shopping and spent some time in the park. The boys were getting a little sleepy so we decided to get the return bus back to Oxford. Thankfully, the bus arrived as indicated on the timetable, so we didn’t have to wait.
I have to admit, taking the bus made a very nice change. Plus, travelling by bus certainly seemed to make things easier. I like the idea of visiting Henley before Christmas and after yesterdays experience, will definitely leave the car at home!
Thames Travel Family Bumper Competiton
To celebrate the launch of the new and improved River Rapids bus service, Thames Travel have got prizes galore to give away, thanks to their official partners along the route. Up for grabs is unlimited bus travel on the new bus service for 3 days. Plus, a family trip on the Santa Special train from Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, tickets to Harry’s Highlights tour, a visit to Henley’s River & Rowing Museum and loads more! You can enter the competition here.
The River Rapids Bus service can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Follow @RiverRapidsBus or use hashtag #RiverRapidsBus to keep up-to-date with the service.
*This post is in collaboration with The Go-Ahead Group.