Bus Companies

Though not an exhaustive list of all the bus companies operating in Britain and Ireland, this hopefully sends you to the right places for more information on many services that are being operated. In the main, my idea is to include those operating scheduled services with modern buses and not those solely involved in the private hire business or offering heritage services like Quantock Heritage.

The list goes beyond the number operators of which I have personal experience because I want to maintain a library for anyone to consult. At times, that will include me since I am bound to want go somewhere new or check on a service that I have used for a while.

Such is the ebb and flow of the bus industry at the moment that the list will change over time and entries already have appeared and disappeared. Some of these changes may happen without my noticing them so please let me know if anything needs adding or updating because I have missed something.

Stagecoach bus in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Navigate by Operator Name: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Aimée’s Travel

This Leek-based appeared as a surprise to me when they took over the bus route between Macclesfield, Leek and Ashbourne from Clowes Coaches of Longnor. They operate a school service around Leek as well evening, Sunday and bank holiday services from there to Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent. Private hire services are on offer and timetable information for any scheduled services that they run is there on show too.

Aircoach

Formerly a home-grown Irish company, this First Group subsidiary has moved on from its days of getting passengers to and from Dublin Airport to serving Cork and Belfast as well. Saying that, a service between Greystones in Co. Wicklow and the said airport was introduced too.

Arriva

It came as a surprise to me to see this Sunderland-headquartered multi-national transport conglomerate being bought out by Germany’s Deutsche Bahn a few years ago. Its bus operations feature much of the old Crosville network and that makes it a pervasive operator in Cheshire though its presence has declined a lot since 2000. Before the Great Recession, it was losing out to local independent operators and these are holding their own to a point when it comes to tackling previously subsidised services on a commercial basis too. However, Cheshire is not alone in this regard since it has deserted the old Crosville strongholds of Aberystwyth and Dolgellau in mid-Wales. All is not bleak though since investment in new buses continues and government funding saw the Macclesfield allocation getting a major influx of Optare Solos in 2012 and a number of new Wright Gemini double deckers appeared before them to ensure that we have a fresher set of buses in the town than is the case elsewhere. It certainly puts right how things were when we had hand-me-downs from elsewhere that created a very poor impression.

Bus Éireann

The company that runs the majority of the Éire’s bus services outside Dublin as well as maintaining all the Republic’s bus stations. Besides services which run between different towns and cities, Bus Éireann also runs bus services within the other cities in the Republic.

Cardiff Bus

Council-owned bus companies are becoming ever rarer but Wales’ capital city sports one as its predominant operator. After years with ever ageing Volvo Ailsas, the fleet was completely modernised in recent years with Scania single and double deckers now dominating it. Recent rote realignments to take account of the changes in the city have attracted some criticism with regard to the reduction of service at Cardiff Central station.

Central Bus

The West Midlands operator seems to concentrate on the area around Walsall, Sutton Coldfield and West Bromwich so they may not be as central as their name suggests. Having a good number of routes under their care, they do appear to have gained a lot of ground over time.

Centrebus

Centrebus is a privately-owned operator that seems to have crept upon a lot of us as they have spread out from their base in Leicester. They also own Bowers who are listed earlier and jointly operate the Huddersfield Bus company with Arriva. It’s not a bad pattern for a business started by former Arriva employees.

Coastal & Country Coaches

It is a set of local bus services around Whitby that drew my attention to this operator and they do private hire too. As if that were not enough, they also offer a summer season open-top bus tour around their home town and vintage bus hire is yet another thing that they do.

Coastal Liner

This is an odd name for a coach operator in the West Midlands and I also was a little surprised to see their inclusion in a Network West Midlands list of bus operators. However, they do run buses from Wolverhampton to Mecca Bingo so this may explain that inclusion and I am adding them here for the same reason.

Country Bus

This is a major independent bus operator in Devon with a number of services operated in conjunction with the local council and Dartmoor National Park Authority as well as others being provided on a commercial basis. Definitely worth a look if visiting places such as Newton Abbot (their main base), Okehampton, Teignmouth, Paignton and Brixham.

D&G

This smaller operator started off in north Staffordshire before turning its attention to Cheshire with a depot in Crewe. For a time, the Crewe depot was its mainstay after selling its Staffordshire operations to Arriva. However, 2014 saw this situation change with D&G taking over over the bus business of Bakers and then buying out Arriva’s Wardle Transport in Stoke-on-Trent. This was funded by the sale of South Lancashire Travel to Rotala and has made the company one of the major players in Cheshire East with substantial interests in Staffordshire too.

Local Link

Also known as Local Link, this is another Devon independent provider of local bus services. This one is based in Paignton and operates a number of bus services that fan out to serve places such as Shiphay, Brixham and Torquay with some financial support from Torbay Council helping too. Due to expand their network soon to include Stoke Gabriel too.

Diamond Buses

This Rotala-owned English West Midlands operator used to has three faces – Red, Black and Blue – according to the area that they served. That has changed in favour of distinct areas: Lichfield in Staffordshire, West Midlands, Redditch and Worcestershire. As you’d expect, there’s travel news and timetables to be found here and there are online ticket sales too.

Docherty’s Midland Coaches

Yet another private hire operator that has branched into running bus services and these serve places such as Auchterarder, Crieff, Perth and Stirling. The website was very flaky when I visited but there are bus timetables on there if the site stands up to your attentions.

Dublin Bus

Runs the vast majority of the bus services in the Irish capital and many of the commuter ones in the areas surrounding the city.

Dublin Coach

2009 wouldn’t have struck me as the best time to starting up an hourly coach service in Éire but that is what this operation is. Looking again at the website, it would appear that this is an enterprise founded by the founder of Aircoach who has gone onto other things since that enterprise was sold to First. The appearance of Quickparks on the site footer would suggest that and there also is a coach touring company catering for visitors to Ireland too.

With the start date for the new company, one had to wonder if it would succeed. It would appear that thye are doing OK because they now have two routes: the M7 between Limerick and Dublin and the original N7 from Portlaoise to Dublin Airport. Frequencies are hourly on both and look very good services to be offering too, particularly given that they use coaches.

East Yorkshire

Given that these people have smartly turned out buses, the website does look a bit plain in comparison. They are a major operator in an area than extends through east Yorkshire from Hull through to the North York Moors. Around Scarborough, they trade as Scarborough & District too. In an ear so dominates by large transport conglomerates, it’s always a pleasure to see an independent one taking pride in serving its local area though a plain list of timetables on the website wouldn’t go astray for those coming from outside the area.

Express Motors

This Welsh operator has a portfolio of services to its name in northwest and mid Wales so it more than deserves inclusion here. Recently, their website got a refresh and the bus timetables page is more prominent that it used to be and that’s no bad thing. There even is one for bus service alerts when things don’t go as well as they should. Over than these, there’s a private hire business to be promoted too.

First

For far too long, the First strategy was to cut costs in the pursuit of profitability with service frequencies and bus quality suffering along the way. That has been changing in recent years following the retirement of Moir Lockhead. That produced chnages with Tim O’ Toole now heading the group and Giles Fearnley is leading the U.K. bus business. It may be his background at Blazefield that got him the job but he is trying to turn things around after what felt like years of decline. It has come too late for places like Northampton where a once proud municipal got reduced to ruins before the subsidiary finally got the chop.

After a period of selling off companies in places like Wigan, Chester and even London, there is an attempt at reinvigorating local companies with First’s operations in Somerset getting rebranded as Buses of Somerset. Around Taunton, liveries are in green and there scarcely is a mention of the First name anyway. More of that is needed along with continued investment in new vehicles for First to transform travel in the right way. It’s long overdue.

Garelochhead Coaches

What gets this largely private hire operation included here is the three scheduled bus services that they run around their part of Scotland. One rounds Gareloch and is operation in conjunction with Wilsons of Rhu who are included themselves later on in the list. This is a seven day operation with even half hourly running on Monday to Saturday daytimes. Then, there is a Monday to Saturday service between Helensburgh and places on the shores of Loch Goil that also takes in some on the side of Loch Lomond too. Lastly, they run a Monday to Saturday service on the more distant Isle of Jura too even if looks a strange inclusion among others on the list. Timetables for all of these are on the website and that is what’s needed for any company’s inclusion on here.

Glasgow Citybus

This is the Glasgow and Dunbartonshire subsidiary of the Campbeltown-headquartered West Coast Motors (see later on for more on them). During the summer, they gained some SPT contracts so they are growing their little presence in the area. If the attention to quality rubs off from the parent company, that only can be a good thing.

Go-Ahead (Group Bus Company Portal)
AnglianBus
Bluestar
Brighton & Hove
Go-Ahead London
Go North East
KonectBus
Metrobus
More
Oxford Bus Company
Plymouth Citybus
Salisbury Reds
Southern Vectis
Wilts & Dorset

In many ways, Go-Ahead is unusual for such a large company in that it allows its subsidiaries to retain distinctive identities. It is for that reason that you see a bundle of different company names above, They are headquartered in the northeast of England and I remember a Go-Ahead Gateshead fleet name from a visit to Newcastle for a conference in the mid-1990’s, my first visit to England as it happened. Because of where they are located, I don’t get much of an opportunity to sample the groups bus services but that’s another story…

gobus.ie

This company was first an independent operator before being acquired by Veolia. However, it is independent again and based in Tuam. They run coaches that ply their way between Cork or Galway and Dublin Airport and the website carries a lot of mentions of the importance of customer service. That sounds very good but I’d have to try the services in order to verify it. They have linked with Bus Éireann too, which could be a very good thing for passengers and it might help patronage as well.

Goldline

Éire has Bus Éireann Expressway, Scotland has Citylink while National Express extends it interurban coach network’s tentacles throughout mainland Britain. So it’s no surprise that Northern Ireland has its own home grown variant and that’s where Goldline comes in.

Grant Palmer

This Bedfordshire operator provides a range of bus services serving places in its native county while extending their reach into parts of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. For a company started in 1999, they appear to have accumulated a good selection of routes and now are set to operate via Luton’s new busway too.

High Peak

This is the result of a new joint venture between Centrebus and Trent Barton that became reality at the start of April 2012. Bowers’ old depot at Chapel en le Frith has shut and all operations are based at the former Trent Barton depot at Dove Holes instead. Though a work in progress, the Centrebus livery has been applied to a good number of the buses already and these especially can be seen on routes such as Buxton-Ashbourne.

Trent wasn’t a major player in the part of Derbyshire surrounding Buxton so the range of services on offer have a bigger contribution from Bowers’ roster. From Trent Barton has come the Monday to Saturday Buxton town service to and from Harpur Hill, the 199 from Buxton to Stockport and Manchester Airport along with the Transpeak service that crosses Derbyshire with extensions to Nottingham, Stockport and Manchester.

Prior to the merger, Bowers ran services in both Derbyshire and Cheshire with intercounty services making up a good share of what they did. Their reach into Cheshire has been growing with council-contracted services between Macclesfield, Congleton, Knutsford, Whirley and Prestbury falling into their hands following the acquisition of the former independent by Centrebus. All of these are served by High Peak now too and same can be said for long-standing Derbyshire and Staffordshire routes.

Hulleys

Though no longer in the Hulley family, this long standing Derbyshire operator continues to trade from its base in Derbyshire. Though scheduled services were what caused the company to be started around 100 years ago, the decline in bus patronage over the decades has meant the development of a private hire business. Today, both sides of the business continue in existence and there’s little sign of that changing too. Their website disappeared from the web earlier in the year so they were dropped from this list. It’s good to see their return.

Hunter’s Executive Coaches of Alloa

The name may not suggest it but this operator has a sideline in bus services and there are timetables to be found on the website too.

Ipswich Buses

This may not be a part of the world that would come to mind as a place for me to visit but this bus operator does seem to care about its business so it deserves a mention. Interestingly, they seem to name some of their vehicles too and a good number of them are very modern. All the usual information that you’d need is on here though I wouldn’t mind learning a bit more about the company but that’s a minor matter.

Irish Citylink

This is the Irish cousin of Scottish Citylink and providers of services to places such as Clifden, Cork, Limerick, Shannon Airport, Galway and Dublin Airport. For a time, they actually directly owned many if not all of their coaches but that has changed to a franchising model. Unlike in Scotland where there are a number of contractors operating Citylink services, there is only one in Ireland and that is based in Galway. The result is that Citylink feels like a Galway headquartered organisation from the information presented on its website. It certainly is a counterpoint in a country where so much is headquartered in its capital city so it’s good to see that success doesn’t need it either.

J. J. Kavanagh & Sons

When I was at university in Cork, I saw coaches from this long-established (since 1919, apparently) family owned operation quite a lot. Even so, they seem to have expanded from their original Urlingford base since then to amass a not inconsiderable number of routes served by a fleet of coaches. Private hire is part of their business too but it’s the services to places like Dublin Airport and Clonmel that earns them their place in this list.

Johnsons

This Henley in Arden based coach and bus operator runs services spanning across the West Midlands. Initially, I thought its focus might be on Stratford-upon-Avon but they serve Birmingham, Coventry, Redditch, Shirley and Solihull under their Excelbus brand too. Along with the public bus services, they also list some that they do specially for the University of Birmingham and NFU Mutual too. Timetable information is available on the website for all of these so there’s no need to scurry over Network West Midlands to find out what you need to know.

Kinchbus

This is another Wellglade subsidiary, this time in Loughborough. Apparently, the same penchant for quality that applies to Trent Barton seems to apply here too. The company is smaller though with a focus on a smaller number of routes around their base. They still include town, university and airport services so there’s a good mix on offer here.

Kingshouse Travel

It would appear that private coach hire is the mainstay of this operator, who is based between Callander and Killin. In addition to a year round Monday to Saturday C60 bus service between Callander and Killin, there also is a pair of summertime circular services that connect Killin, Kenmore, Aberfeldy, Crieff, Lochearnhead and other places. For 2015, these operate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday with four departures each way a day and they are operated on a hop-on hop-off basis too. Usefully, the services get you around parts of Stirling District and Perthshire where there is not a lot of public transport provision.

Lothian Buses

This is the main bus company in the city of Edinburgh. Even after all the years of Conservative government, this has remained in council ownership even though it has partially floated on the London Stock Exchange. The company has always offered good and frequent service in clean modern buses, setting an example for many other operators.

Lloyd’s Coaches

It may seem surprising given the size of the place but Machynlleth plays host to no less than two bus depots next to its train station. One belongs to Arriva Cymru while the other is owned by local independent public service and private hire operator Lloyd’s. Council contracts have allowed the family owned business to operate a goodly number of routes for which timetables are available on the website so it’s a worthwhile port of call.

M & A Coaches

It was the dropping of some stops from Bus Éireann’s Cork-Dublin Expressway coach service that was the cause of this Kilkenny-based (Ballyragget, actually) coach hire operator providing a local service to cover for the omissions after securing a contract to do so from the National Transport Authority. That was the 828 between Urlingford, Abbeyleix and Portlaoise and a newer service 828X began between Cashel, Urlingford and Portlaoise. Timetables for both of these are on the website and offer several departures a day with a more extensive service offering from Monday to Saturday than on Sundays. The main focus is on daytime services with none early in the morning and later ones on Fridays and Sundays, possibly because of folk travelling home from elsewhere, more likely Dublin, for weekends. Sometimes, focus on faster journeys can cut out others while making opportunities for more.

Marshalls Coaches

As well as being a private hire operator, this Nottinghamshire firm also operates some bus routes around Newark-on-Trent and Nottingham. It was during a spell of snow when I learned of the company’s existence because they needed to cancel their last services between Nottingham and Newark-on-Trent due to the road conditions. Let’s hope that stranded no one though they did do it for safety reasons, with the best of intentions in other words.

Matthews Coaches

On forays via Dublin Airport, I have noticed coaches operated by these people working what appeared to be scheduled services. Their website confirms that impression with places such as Dundalk, Drogheda and Bettystown being connected with Dublin’s city centre.

McColl’s Coaches

This once was a useful provider of services in the Loch Lomond area, especially around Balloch, but that has changed a lot. They operate less services with only one around Balloch itself and others serving places like Kilsyth and Duntocher. In addition, they also provide demand responsive services on behalf of SPT. Their private hire business continues too, it has to be said.

McGill’s Buses

It was a recent trip to Dunoon that reminded me about this operator in the part of Scotland immediately west of Glasgow. As well as a next to two hourly coach service between Glasgow and Dunoon, they also operate quite a few services in the Inverclyde and Renfrewshire areas with quite a few running in and out of Glasgow. A look at the vehicles that they use would imply that they mean it when they say that quality is their watchword. It’s good to see firms like this doing well when large transport groups are so dominant.

Megabus

Stagecoach’s Megabus operation has been something of an upstart in the intercity coach market but it does seem to be establishing itself as time wears on; that tie-up with Scottish Citylink (see below) surely must have helped. Its buy-ahead (on the web) approach may not suit those who prefer an unplanned hop-on service but having £1 fares between the likes of Manchester and Leeds certainly does appeal. North American visitors may wonder at the British focus of the piece but it did start on this side of the Atlantic before it crossed the water.

Metro

Like Dublin, Belfast has its own bus company offering services across the city.

Mid Wales Travel

When Arriva deserted Aberystwyth, this is who took over the town services that it once operated. There are a surprising fourteen services in all and some are in service only during university term times. Other than the town services, the company offers private coach hire and details of this appears on the website along with timetables for the scheduled bus services.

Midland Classic

Though they do offer private hire services on a former London Routemaster, it is their local services offered using more modern buses that gets them added to this list. These fan out from Burton-on-Trent to serve a number of places such as Lichfield. Additionally, they also operate school bus services.

Minsterley Motors

Though mainly a private coach hire operation, they also operate daytime services between Shrewsbury to Stiperstones and Bishop’s Castle, Monday to Saturday. Arriva Midlands operate Sunday and weekday evening services as well.

National Express

Now facing an upheaval following poor financial performance due to imprudent indebtedness, this is the operator running the majority of the express intercity coach services across the U.K. although their services miss out a lot of towns, Macclesfield for instance, and other places receive a patchy service, of which North Wales is an example. A takeover bid is in progress with U.K. bus and rail operations set to pass to Stagecoach, a situation that could trigger a shake up of Britain’s bus market if the latter suitor is to avoid the attentions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission.

New Adventure Travel

This form had not come up that high on my radar but its activities are spreading across south Wales to the point that I am asking if it can be sustained. New buses are being added to the fleet too and that makes me wonder all the more. In August, they took over Monday to Saturday bus services in Gower from First Cymru so that really brought the company to my attention and I spotted services that they run between Swansea and Brecon too so they seem a busy bunch with hardly any part of south Wales escaping their attentions. In addition to their widely spread bus operations, the also offer private coach hire too.

Newport Bus

This is another of those rare beasts, a Welsh municipal operator. This Newport is a city on Wales’ south coast not far from Cardiff and it runs interurban services to its near neighbour as well as services within its home city.

Park’s of Hamilton

There are quite a few things that you can do with a fleet of coaches. First, there’s private hire and excursions but scheduled express intercity coach services are another possibility and this pervasive operator proves it by offering all of this. For decades now, they have undertaken National Express and Scottish Citylink work but a recent innovation has been their taking services previously run by the latter of these following a Competition Commission enquiry.

Perryman’s Buses

Based in Berwick-upon-Tweed, this operator straddles both sides of the Scotland-England border with services, many of a cross-border nature, ranging from town services around their home town through to a long distance one to and from Edinburgh.

Preston Bus

Now owned by Rotala, this company was the subject of some controversy when Stagecoach acquired it as a hostile takeover with some fierce competition preceding that outcome. The intervention of the Competition Commission meant that Stagecoach had to sell off some of its business in the Preston and the re-emergence of Preston Bus as a Rotala subsidiary took place late in 2010. It’s been an eventful ride for what once was a council-owned operator and I hope that its future is less dramatic than its recent past. The website does feel a little neglected and could do with some tending. Even so, timetable information is on there even if there is a disconcerting hangover from the Stagecoach days on what you find.

Pride of the Dales

This small operator purveys bus services from Ilkley and Skipton to Grassington and Buckden in the Yorkshire Dales. Their quizzically designed website tells you more.

Procters

Though website’s front page is all about private coach hire, it is their Dales & District bus services that gain them their inclusion here. These serve Yorkshire’s northern dales with places like Hawes, Keld and other such spots seeing much needed services. Major towns like Richmond, Ripon and Northallerton also feature on their routes around Wensleydale and Swaledale so they are good staging posts for onward explorations.

RATP London United
RATP Yellow Buses

Both of these companies were part of Transdev until that operator joined forces with Veolia. They now are in the hands of the another French transport service provider with international holdings, RATP. That may have its stronghold in Île-de-France, Paris and its surrounding area in other words, but it has had a shareholding in Transdev that was converted into acquisition of no less than fifteen former Transdev subsidiaries with both London United and Yellow Buses included among their number. The former retains the lack of travel information that typical of its website in its Transdev days while the latter was formerly a council-owned operation in Bournemouth that continues to retain its local identity.

Reading Buses
Newbury Buses
goGoldline.com

Here is proof that you can have a vibrant council-owned bus company in England and all of these are divisions of Reading Transport. The last on the list is the private operation though I did hear rumblings that this was a business that was going to be exited. Both Reading Buses and Newbury Buses do what you’d expect in that they operate scheduled services and then share new, fare and timetable information via the web.

Richards Brothers

If you go exploring Pembrokeshire without a car, the chances are that you’ll end up on a bus service operated by this local company. In its own way, it adds to the distinctive feel of the area not to have a big transport conglomerate dominating its bus market. That leaves Richards as the biggest operators around there and they offer a fair number of services alongside their private hire coach business.

Ross’s Minibuses

My reason for adding these is that they has been involved in linking Inverness with the remote Glen Affric over the past summer and I’d like to see them do so again during the next one. In addition, they also operate other local services from their depot in Struy. Hopefully, their website will tell you a little more about what they have to offer the travelling public.

Rossendalebus

Here’s another operator in southeast Lancashire and a seemingly independent one too by the appearance of things. Their patch covers Rochdale, Bury and Rawtenstall with one service venturing into Manchester. Service news is delivered through their blog and everything else is as you’d expect with regard to timetables and network maps though they’re a little shy when comes to giving company information, for now anyway.

Scottish Citylink

When this became a joint venture between Comfort DelGro and Stagecoach, I began to have concerns about undesirable results such as a certain lack of responsiveness to demand, changes in contracts and the outbreak of bus wars. Since then, things have settled down with innovations like Citylink Gold coming on stream. After all, it remains the coach company which operates the many of the express bus services between major Scottish towns and cities, blessing Scotland with a decent network of express coach services. Even so, you do have to watch out for eccentricities in some of the timetables, especially with destinations in the Scottish Highlands.

Shiel Buses

If you need to get between Fort William and destinations such as Mallaig, Morvern and Ardnamurchan, then this family owned firm could be conveying you. Service frequencies are such that it’s best not to bet on a day trip but go for the multi-day option instead. Nevertheless, that’s only what this part of Scotland deserves.

Springfield Bus & Coach

It was aftermath of the collapse of GHA Coaches in July that brought this Warrington-based operator, also known as Howard Travel Group, into Cheshire East. Their portfolio here now includes services between Altrincham and Knutsford, between Macclesfield and Knutsford and between Wilmslow and Manchester Airport. They already run services in Cheshire West and Chester so it is the area that is new to them, not the business.

Stagecoach

Always seem to be updating their bus fleet and experimenting with new services such as the Oxford Tube and MegaBus. In Scotland, they are now the biggest operator, a fact that brings them to the notice of the Competition Commission.

The Green Bus

This operation began following the loss of a school bus service and has expanded from serving a single school in Birmingham to other parts of the West Midlands and onto Berkshire, Liverpool and Surrey. In addition, there services to football grounds on match days and occasional services to Drayton also operate. Its involvement in local bus services is only beginning, it seems, and they run from Birmingham to Maypole and Redditch with the latter of these only seeing one return journey a day. For a company started by a teacher with transport industry experience, it has a well developed ethos that talks about offering car users a travel alternative and keeping passengers up to date regarding running times using text messaging and a phone app. Telephone-based customer service also is something that gets emphasis as does returning of lost property, probably especially a concern with those school services.

TM Travel

Until the last few years, this was an independent operator serving south Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Since then, it has been acquired by Wellglade, the owners of Trent Barton, and the website now features route and timetable information. The addition of this information is what got the site added to this listing and is a very welcome result of the acquisition. Before then, there was nothing of that kind and it was a disappointing state of affairs to notice.

Nottingham City Transport
Transdev Harrogate and District
Transdev Keighley and District
Transdev Lancashire
Transdev York & East Coast
Unibus

All of these are subsidiaries owned by French company Transdev with those in Yorkshire and Lancashire being part of the Blazefield group. The London company doesn’t seem to provide much in the way of travel information while the others very much do so and you are set to wondering if they expect Transport for London to pick up the slack in that area. Nottingham City Transport is co-owned with Nottingham City Council, the latter retaining the majority shareholding.

Travel de Courcey

As well as providing coach hire services, this family firm also provides local bus services around Coventry with the University of Warwick (Coventry original was in the county of Warwickshire so the university is here and not the town from which it gets its name) turning up a lot on their timetables. Other destinations include Nuneaton and there even is an express service going as far as Leicester. Clearly, any consolidation of their bus routes in Coventry not long prior to my writing is fine tuning with there being no dulling in the commitment to offering bus services at all.

Travelsure

Apart from Arriva, there are a few local operators in the Northumberland that run services on behalf of the council and this is one of them. Their turf is the part of the county between Alnwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed and the site has timetable information for what they operate. Quizzically, the times are dispensed using an unusual menu-based interface rather than the more usual timetable displays or journey planner functionality; once you get over that, it does its job. The site is new for 2009 and it’ll be interesting to see if there’s another one for 2010 given the way that things are organised. Like many a travel company, they also turn their hand to private hire and organised excursions too.

Trent Barton

Trent is a name dating from the National Bus Company days and the establishment of its joint venture with Centrebus to serve Buxton and its surrounding area, called High Peak, means that it can concentrate its efforts on services in south and east Derbyshire along with Nottinghamshire.

Ulsterbus

This is the Northern Ireland’s equivalent of Éire’s Bus Éireann and so is an essential port of call for getting about this part of the world.

Uno

There cannot be many bus companies that have began life at the behest of a university but that exactly is what this one is. It was started by the University of Hertfordshire in the southeast of England to provide student transport in its catchment area. However, things have expanded from there to include services offered to members of the public too. That meant a name change from UniversityBus to the present day Uno with the strap-line being “the university bus for everyone”. A look down its list of routes reveals many Monday to Friday services though there are ones operating at weekends too. All in all, it’s amazing what can happen to an idea once the general public come in on the act and that certainly seems application to Unobus’s operations, which fan out from its base in Hatfield to inlude locations such as St. Alban’s, Hitchin, Stevenage, Borehamwood and Watford to name but a few.

Warrington Borough Transport

Also branded Network Warrington, this council-owned operator continues to hold its own and even beat off incursions from rivals a decade or more ago. Recent investment has made an impact though Sunday services have suffered as a result of the current economic climate.

Wessex Buses

This Rotala subsidiary serves places around Bath, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire using what appears to be a decent fleet. University services also seem to be a big part of what they do. Travel information such as timetables for all of their services in the area are present so this is a worthy port of call.

West Coast Motors

Well worthy of a look because of their being the predominant operator of scheduled bus and coach services around Argyll, Bute and Mull, they now have a very shiny website which gives all the details that you are likely to need from them. They also operate coach services on behalf of Scottish Citylink with a direct service between Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport, complementing their more usual Oban and Campbeltown departures from the same city.

Wexford Bus

Not only does this operator run services around Wexford town and county but they also connect the county with Dublin and Cork too. Until the Christmas 2010 arctic weather, I hadn’t heard of them but their service frequencies look impressive for most of what they provide.

Whittle

This is a subsidiary of East Yorkshire that offers bus and coach services in the West Midlands. Their patch is Kidderminster and the surrounding area and they have a range of Monday to Saturday services to offer the travelling public too.

Wilsons of Rhu

Rhu is located on the shore of Gareloch not far from Helensburgh and this operator has three scheduled bus services on offer in addition to its private hire business. Timetables for all their scheduled services are available on the website. One of these is a Helensburgh town service and another goes around Gareloch with a frequency and a spread of the day that would shame others and it runs seven days a week too, albeit with reduced Sunday frequencies; working with Garelochhead Coaches probably helps on this one. Lastly, there’s a link between the Vale of Leven Hospital and Royal Alexandra Hospital with the occasional extension to Helensburgh. There’s a fair mix between all of these and the inter-hospital service is more regular from Monday to Friday too and even offers a mid evening run on all days of the week.

Your Bus

There was a time when the East Midlands was served by a family owned business named Dunn-Line. That got sold to Veolia in 2006 but 2009 saw Scott Dunn start up Dunn Motor Traction or Your Bus as it is better known. Though I spotted some Durham services and there is a lot of National Express coach work, the main bus business is centred around Nottingham, Derby, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire. University services are on offer too under the University Hopper brand following the demise of Premiere Travel.

Among these is the Citylink service linking Nottingham and Derby from Monday to Saturday and offering a high frequency of around one every 10 minutes too. Another notable route is the Y36 from Chilwell into the centre of Nottingham that mainly is a Monday to Friday service with added night journeys in the small hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.

It has come a long way from the earliest journeys along the predecessor to the Y36 and now is based at Heanor in Derbyshire. Let’s hope it continues to do well because the collapse of Premiere Travel highlights the risks of expanding too quickly and Your Bus has not grown slowly either.

Navigate by Operator Name: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z