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The Yorkshire Traction Company Limited was formed in 1902 as the Barnsley & District Electric Traction Company Limited. It operated trams around the Barnsley locality until around 1930. In 1928, prior to the trams being withdrawn, the company was renamed from the Barnsley & District Traction Company Limited (the 'electric' part of the name being dropped some years earlier). The company was affectionately referred to as 'Tracky'.
Yorkshire Traction was sold by the Government in 1986 to a management team led by Frank Carter. Until selling the business to Stagecoach on 14 December 2005, Carter expanded the business by purchasing other operators including: Barnsley & District (formed in July 1990 when Traction bought the bus business of Tom Jowitt Travel of Tankersley), Lincolnshire RoadCar Company, Lincoln City Transport, Yorkshire Terrier, Andrews (Sheffield) Ltd (merged with Yorkshire Terrier in 1998), "Sheffield Omnibus (Merged with Andrews (Sheffield) in 1996), South Riding (merged with Andrews (Sheffield) in 1995), Strathtay Scottish, Meffans Coaches (a subsidiary of Strathtay), London Traveller (35% owned by Traction, sold in 2002),
Yorkshire Traction and its subsidiaries were owned by The Traction Group, which was owned by Frank Carter, together with small shares owned by the Carter Family Trust and employees who worked for the company at privatisation.
In December 2005 Stagecoach acquired Yorkshire Traction, at the time the largest privately owned bus operator in the United Kingdom. In May 2008 Stagecoach sold the Huddersfield operations to Centrebus Holdings which now operate under the name 'Huddersfield Bus Company' while the part of the business remaining with Stagecoach was renamed Stagecoach Sheffield. Former Yorkshire Traction Huddersfield then being named 'Huddersfield Bus Company' was brought out by Arriva Yorkshire in September 2013. The name then changed to Yorkshire Tiger with depots in Huddersfield, Halifax and Leeds.
The company operated services across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and into Leeds, Huddersfield and eventually, Sheffield. From the 1974 merger of Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster municipal bus companies until the mid-1990s, the operating area of South Yorkshire was split between South Yorkshire Transport (SYT) and Yorkshire Traction with SYT dominating Sheffield and Rotherham. Through the acquisitions of Sheffield Omnibus, South Riding, Andrews and Yorkshire Terrier in the early 1990s, the company gained a significant foothold in Sheffield which has today led Stagecoach to compete directly against First Group.
Yorkshire Traction had for decades been a major regional operator of National Express services covering nationwide routes in addition to its regular and long established services in and out of London to Yorkshire towns and cities. It had also operated alongside 'National Travel', the short break holiday arm of NBC. Upon privatisation, YTC launched 'Ridings' Travel and became a popular choice for the short break coach holidaymaker within the region.
- John Banks Prestige Series No.36 Yorkshire Traction 2 *Venture Publications ISBN 978-1-905304-11-0
- John Banks Prestige Series No.5 Yorkshire Traction Venture Publications ISBN 978-1-898432-21-0