READING Buses launches its new fleet of hybrid buses next week.

The new vehicles, part paid for by the Government, are dual diesel-electric, offering a smoother ride for passengers while also saving the company tens of thousands of pounds a year in fuel.

Six of the new ADL 400 hybrids are coming into service, with 30 due to be running in Reading by April 2012.

The Government's Green Bus Fund has funded about a third of the cost of each of the £300,000 vehicles, which is the 'extra' cost of making them hybrid on top of the normal cost of a new bus.

The buses will be launched at a ceremony with councillors, passengers and residents' groups at Reading Town Hall in Blagrave Street on Monday, where the invited guests will get a ride on the new vehicles.

Reading Transport chief executive James Freeman said: "We expect guests to be impressed by these magnificent new buses and to be wowed by the smooth ride.

"We will get the benefit of an excellent driver's bus as well as substantial fuel savings which we hope will be as much as 25%."

The hybrid buses will arrive from the factory in Scotland devoid of any branding, which will be added at Great Knollys Street depot before they enter service."

One of the buses was tested on the company's busiest route, the number 17 from Tilehurst to Wokingham Road, a year ago. Mr Freeman said he was very impressed with the results.

A batch of the buses has been on the roads in London and performing well, according to Transport for London.

BAE Systems, which designed the hybrid drive system for the buses, built in Britain by ADL, won the UK Bus Award for Innovation in November.