Probus Management

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This company originally traded as Pete's Travel, and has also traded as People's Express

Probus Management was a bus operator in the West Midlands region of England. It mainly had a distinctive all over yellow livery. In 2006 it became part of Go West Midlands, and in 2008 was sold by Go-Ahead to become part of Central Connect.

History[edit]

Probus was founded in 1993, and began operating on 4 May of that year, trading as Pete's Travel, starting with two Dodge minibuses on route 404, running between Walsall and West Bromwich.

The operation of route 79, between Birmingham, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, increased the size of the fleet to six by the end of the year. All the vehicles were painted in a white livery with a black skirt, and red fleet names. Pictured

Purchase of Lionspeed and gain of Centro contracts[edit]

In May 1994 Pete's acquired Lionspeed, who was a minibus operator based in Erdington, running a mix of commercial and Centro supported services in north Birmingham.

The company successfully gained the right to run its own Centro contracts in October 1994, and by February 1995 it had 25 minibuses in operation, mostly second-hand Dodge minibuses.

Pete's moved to a new depot in Church Lane Industrial Estate in May 1996, where 50 minibuses could be parked under cover. At the same time Lionspeed's yellow and green livery was adopted, and the company bought its first new buses in the shape of Mercedes minibuses, which were operated under a separate company called The Busy Bus Company.

In October 1996 the company won more Centro contracts and additional vehicles were needed. Pete's wanted six Mercedes-Benz Varios but the leasing company (Cheshire Bus and Coach) could not obtain enough in time, so other bus types were operated, including a Dennis Dart SLF. This was to the annoyance of Travel West Midlands, the area's largest operator, who were only just getting their first low-floor vehicles. The popularity of these buses led to Pete's purchasing another three in June 1997.

Pete's Travel took over further Centro contracts, with Dodge minibuses, in January 1997, after The Little Red Bus Company went into receivership.

Purchase of People's Express[edit]

In May 1997 the company acquired a 50% stake in People's Express (the trading name of Salelink), who at the time operated 13 buses, also in West Bromwich. The remainder of People's Express was bought in June 1998, along with the company's Centro contracts. Following more contract wins at the end of 1998, the company expanded into Coventry, Telford and Bridgnorth.

Move to Hill Top and Redditch[edit]

A new depot was purchased in February of that year, at "Hill Top" in West Bromwich, allowing the use of double deckers for Centro school contracts.

October 2001 brought with it two new depots for the company - one in Coventry for newly won Centro and Warwickshire County Council contracts, and another in Redditch for Centro and Worcestershire County Council contracts, and some commercial services following First Wyvern's staff shortage service cuts.

Rise and decline of the Telford operations[edit]

Britannia Travel of Telford was taken over in February 2002, which was used to expand operations in Shropshire and to start a coach operation.

The Telford depot was closed in late 2004 due to the extensive loss of Shropshire contracts.

People's Express name revived[edit]

After 28 March 2005 the company changed its trading name from Pete's Travel to People's Express. On 17 June that year, People's Express closed the Redditch depot. From that date all services were operated from the West Bromwich depot.

Go-Ahead[edit]

After a few weeks of negotiations, the Go-Ahead Group agreed to purchase Probus Management on Wednesday 22 February 2006. The deal was finalised on Tuesday 21 March that year.

Go-Ahead scrapped the People's Express name, replacing it with Birmingham Coach Company's Diamond Bus, later Diamond. These companies were then operated by Go West Midlands.

However, in March 2008, Go West Midlands was sold to Rotala's Central Connect. [1]

Fleet[edit]

Details of the fleet before the purchase by Go-Ahead are here.

References[edit]

External links[edit]