A Preston Bus Optare Solo
|Founded||1904 (Preston District Travel)
1994-2009, 2011- (Preston Bus)
|Defunct||2009-2011 (Stagecoach in Preston)|
|Service type||Bus services|
|Destinations||Preston and surrounding area|
Preston Bus is a bus operator running within the city of Preston, England, and into the surrounding area. In 2009, it was acquired by the Stagecoach Group and was rebranded Stagecoach in Preston, before they were subsequently ordered to sell the company as a result of competition concerns. As part of the Competition Commission findings into the takeover, Preston Bus was managed separately from the main Stagecoach business, pending possible divestment to a third party company later in the year. On 25 January 2011, it was revealed that Stagecoach had sold Preston Bus to Midlands based company Rotala. The takeover sees the company moving into North West England operations for the first time.
Preston Bus was founded in 1904 as Preston District Travel and operated a number of services in the Preston area until 1993, when the company was bought from the local authority by its employees, and became a limited company.
In 2006, Preston Bus was subject to some high profile competition from national operator Stagecoach Group through their Stagecoach North West subsidiary. Competition escalated into a bus war with Stagecoach offering lower fares on the busiest routes.
Both companies have accused each other of unprofessional behaviour. On 10 June 2008, both companies agreed to a code of practice by the traffic commissioner. The competition continued, with Stagecoach operating routes within Preston and Preston Bus commencing a frequest service between Preston and Penwortham, and a limited service between Preston and Southport, duplicating existing Stagecoach routes.
On 30 December 2008 it was reported that Preston Bus had agreed in principle to an acquisition by its rival operator, Stagecoach North West. On 23 January 2009, Preston Bus was sold to Stagecoach in an estimated 10.4 million pound deal, ending 104 years service of Preston Bus to the city.
The routes operated by Preston Bus were rebranded as Stagecoach in Preston from March 2009.
On 11 November 2009 the Competition Commission ruled that the takeover by Stagecoach had adversely affected competition in the area and ordered the sell off of Preston Bus. Following this ruling, the Preston Bus name and logo was reinstated and the company was operated at 'arms length' from the main Stagecoach business. In January 2011, the Rotala Group announced they had agreed a deal to take over the Preston Bus operations from Stagecoach, operating most of the services Preston Bus had run before the Stagecoach takeover.. After developing a new livery of cream, blue and light green with 'PB' insignia a rapid repaint programme was instigated with most buses being repainted at an outside contractor in Walsall. All buses were expected to be in the new livery by the summer of 2012.
The current fleet as of summer 2012 comprised -:
- 10 Leyland Olympian double deckers bought in 1991 and 1992.
- 1 Leyland Lynx single decker, bought in 1989.
- 7 Optare Versa Hybrid single deckers bought in 2011 and 2012.
- 1 Mercedes-Benz O530LE single decker bought in 2011.
- 18 Dennis Trident/East Lancs Lolyne double deckers, bought between 1999 and 2000.
- 5 Dennis Trident/Plaxton from Lothian Buses in 2011.
- 2 Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 from Stagecoach London in 2011.
- 27 Optare Solo midibuses, bought between 2001 and 2002.
- 2 Scania N94UD OmniDekka, bought in 2006.
- 10 Scania N94UB/East Lancs Esteem single-deckers, bought between 2006 and 2007.
- 8 Optare Solo SR midibuses with leather seats and television screens (originally for the park and ride services), bought in 2008.
Preston Bus had replaced many of its older vehicles shortly before Stagecoach took over in 2009. These included Leyland Olympians, Leyland Lynxes, Optare MetroRiders and Leyland Atlanteans. Between 2006 and 2009, many of these were sold to in order to purchase new vehicles.
- Rotala buys Preston Bus for £3.2million - BusandCoach.com
- How Preston's bus wars have been fought - Lancashire Evening Post
- Bus giant accused of 'dirty tactics' - Lancashire Evening Post
- Preston's bus war... it won't be over for Christmas - Lancashire Evening Post
- Legal loophole delay for egg-throwing drivers - Lancashire Evening Post
- Preston bus and Stagecoach agree a code of conduct - Preston Bus
- We were forced to sell - Lancashire Evening Post
- Company must sell 'bus war' rival
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