Midland Scottish

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Midland Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from Walter Alexander and Sons (Midland) Ltd, and operated until 1991 when it became Midland Bluebird Ltd.

Operation[edit]

From its head office in Larbert, Midland Scottish had an operating area bounded by Oban in the west and north, Glasgow to the south and Grangemouth to the east.

Midland was the largest operator in Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk districts and was responsible for urban, rural and interurban services in and around Stirling, Falkirk, Linlithgow, Grangemouth, Bo'ness and Oban. Depots were located in Larbert, Bannockburn, Linlithgow, Balfron and Oban.

Midland also provided coaches for Scottish Citylink express work, mainly north west and central Scotland to other towns and cities in Scotland and England.

History[edit]

Though its predecessor company, Walter Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd can be traced back to 1923, Midland Scottish was created through reorganisation of the Scottish Bus Group in preparation for deregulation of the bus industry in 1986, and eventual privatisation. On creation, the Alexanders (Midland) depots of Milngavie, Kirkintilloch, Kilsyth, Stepps and Cumbernauld were ceded to a new company in the west, Kelvin Scottish, while Perth, Crieff, Blairgowrie and Pitlochry were ceded to a new company in the east, Strathtay Scottish. The traditional Alexender’s blue and cream livery was retained for Midland’s fleet, and some longer distance single deck vehicles continued to wear the bluebird logo that was used by Alexander’s coaching operations.

Despite the heavily populated central Scotland operating area, Midland faced only light competition in several of the towns in which it served. Its operations continued largely unchanged and the company did not expand to compete against city operators in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which were on the outer extremities of its territory. As a result, Midland was one of the most successful of the Scottish Bus Group subsidiaries, being the second most profitable after Fife Scottish.

In 1990, as the company prepared for privatisation, it began trading as Midland Bluebird. It became the second SBG subsidiary to be privatised when it was sold for £8.5m in September 1990 to GRT Group, one of the predecessors of the First Group. Shortly afterward, the company changed its legal name to Midland Bluebird Ltd. Operations in Oban were sold to Oban and District.

In September 1992 the company announced a smoking ban on all its services from 12 October, after a highly publicised public consultation found that 91% of respondents wished smoking to be banned on its services.[1]

The former operations of Midland Scottish are today part of First Edinburgh, trading simply as First, after being merged with neighbouring First subsidiaries SMT (Eastern Scottish) and Lowland.

References[edit]

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