First Somerset & Avon

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Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL hybrid in Weston-super-Mare in August 2010
Parent FirstGroup
Founded September 1983
Headquarters Bristol
Service area Bristol
Service type Bus services
Depots 5
Fleet 326 (March 2013)
Website bath & the west

First Somerset & Avon is a bus operator providing services in Bath, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and West Wiltshire. It is a subsidiary of FirstGroup.


Wright Renown bodied Volvo B10BLE in Bristol in June 2011
Wright Eclipse Fusion bodied Volvo B7LA in Bath in October 2010

The company name First Somerset & Avon dates only from 2003, although the origins of the company date back to 1887. The company combines the former operations of Badgerline, acquired by First Group in 1995, and the Somerset operations of Southern National, acquired in 1999.

Badgerline was formed in 1985 as the business name of the Bristol Country Bus operations (in South Gloucestershire, Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire) of the Bristol Omnibus Company (then part of the National Bus Company). In 1986 the operations were transferred to a separate legal entity[1] and privatised in September 1986 in a management buyout. After Badgerline merged with GRT Group to form FirstBus in 1995, the operation was rebranded as First, although Badgerline Ltd continued as the legal name of the operator. In 2001 First Group changed the legal structure of some of its bus operating subsidiaries. The legal entity which had been Badgerline Ltd changed its name to First City Line Ltd and became the operator of Bristol city services (now First Bristol Ltd).[2] The legal entity which had been First Bristol Buses Ltd (which had previously been Bristol Omnibus Company, incorporated in 1887) changed its name in 2003 to First Somerset & Avon Ltd.[3] and became the operator of Badgerline's former services.

Southern National was formed in 1983 as the Somerset and Dorset operations of Western National (then part of the National Bus Company). It was privatised in 1988,[4] acquired by First Group in 1999 and rebranded First Southern National. In 2003 the Somerset operations of First Southern National were merged into First Somerset & Avon.

In February 2014, First's Taunton & Bridgwater business was rebranded The Buses of Somerset in an unprescedented break from the First Group corporate style. The business instead now sports a two tone green & cream livery with bespoke branding, website and social media profiles.[5]


First Somerset & Avon operates an extensive network of services in and around Bath, Bridgwater, Bristol, Taunton, Trowbridge, Wells, Weston-super-Mare and Yeovil.


As at March 2013 the fleet consisted of 326 buses and coaches.[6]


First Somerset & Avon operate five depots in Bath, Bridgwater, Minehead, Taunton and Weston-super-Mare.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 1966227 First Bristol Limited formerly First City Line Limited formerly Badgerline Limited
  2. ^ Companies House Webcheck Company Number 1966277
  3. ^ "WebCHeck - Select and Access Company Information - Company no. 25088". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  4. ^ Buses Magazine, Issue 648, March 2009, Ian Allan Publishing
  5. ^ First drops corporate look in Somerset Bus & Coach Professional
  6. ^ a b FirstGroup Fleetlist Steve White

External links[edit]