North West Bus Memories in Colour
Everyone knows the significance of the year 1066 and, with luck, that of 1485 too. Few however will regard 1969 as having any meaning at all, yet a seismic shift was just about to get underway in the world of British bus transport. It would alter radically the character and scope of our bus services. Four factors would soon combine to change the nature of our bus fleets forever. First, the Transport Act 1968 would sweep away many municipal fleets in our metropolitan areas; secondly, one of our largest bus operators, British Electric Traction (BET), had decided to throw in the towel and sell out to the state owned Transport Holding Company (Tilling had already been thus absorbed) in 1969. This paved the way for wholesale rationalisation which reached its climax with the deregulation of services. Thirdly, car ownership was steadily rising. Customer diversion had started to bite for both bus operators and British Railways. Finally, the half cab bus was doomed by government legislation designed to promote one man operation, producing a bias towards the construction of rear engined buses.
So in the North West, by the end of 1969, the new Passenger Transport Authority for South East Lancashire and North East Cheshire, SELNEC, had swallowed up no less than eleven municipal transport undertakings and the Transport Holding Company had bought BET's transport interests. The Transport Holding Company was soon to metamorphose into the National Bus Company and the consequent rationalisation would, notably, spell the end for the North Western Road Car Company in 1972 while Ribble would be shorn of some of its peripheral operations. SELNEC itself was turned into the Greater Manchester PTE by 1974 as yet another local government reorganisation took place, following which in 1976 it swallowed up the largest remaining private operator, Lancashire United, which survived in name only, until 1981.
64 Page full Colour HARDBACK