Black Prince Buses

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Black Prince Buses
Parent Brian Crowther
Founded 1969
Ceased operation 2005
Headquarters Morley
Service area West Yorkshire
Service type Bus operator
Fleet 40 (2005)

Black Prince Buses[1] was a bus company based in Morley, West Yorkshire. Founded in 1969 as a coach firm, it expanded into local bus operation following deregulation in 1986. Black Prince was taken over by FirstGroup in July 2005.


Black Prince was founded as a coach hire firm 1969 by Brian Crowther, a former employee of British Rail.[2] Its name was inspired by Edward, the Black Prince, a statue of whom stands in the centre of Leeds.[3]

In 1986, deregulation introduced on-road competition local bus service operation. Black Prince moved into scheduled service operation, launching a number of routes centred on Morley in competition with Yorkshire Rider. A variety of second-hand vehicles were acquired to operate the routes, and a livery of red and yellow introduced.[3]

By 2004, Black Prince operated a fleet of 40 vehicles on a network of routes around Leeds, with an annual turnover of almost £3 million. Many of its routes competed with Yorkshire Rider's successor First Leeds.[4]

Sale and subsequent history[edit]

In May 2005, FirstGroup announced its intention to purchase Black Prince. Although this move reduced competition in Leeds, it was approved by the Office of Fair Trading as Black Prince had intended to close if the acquisition had not taken place.[4] This was one of the first uses of the failing-firm defence, which was created under the Enterprise Act 2002.[5]

The takeover was completed on 31 July 2005. Several service changes were made to reduce competition with existing First Leeds routes.[2] Planning permission was originally granted for the company's depot in Morley to be demolished and replaced by a supermarket.[2] This did not take place, and in 2009 work instead began on a housing development at the site; however, this was halted by the economic downturn and the site remained empty until late 2012, when a new housing development was proposed.[6]

Black Prince was the last family-owned independent bus operator in Leeds prior to the takeover.[7] In August 2005 a commemorative model of a Black Prince vehicle was released by Britbus.[8]

In January 2006, one of the replacement routes introduced by First was criticised for failing to serve the Lingfields estate. First stated that the service was not commercially viable.[9]

Black Prince's founder Brian Crowther died in February 2008.[2]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3468144 Morley & District formerly Black Prince Buses Limited
  2. ^ a b c d Farewell to the prince of buses Morley Observer & Advertiser 19 February 2008 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Observer" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b Brown, Stewart J (September 1993). Buses in Britain. Capital Transport. p. 89. ISBN 1-85414-158-9. 
  4. ^ a b Anticipated acquisition by First West Yorkshire Limited of Black Prince Buses Limited Office of Fair Trading
  5. ^ Kokkoris, Ioannis; Olivares-Caminal, Rodrigo (2010). Antitrust Law Amidst Financial Crises. Cambridge University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-521-19483-9. 
  6. ^ Former Black Prince depot in line for regeneration Morley Observer & Advertiser 1 September 2012
  7. ^ All aboard! The Guardian 17 February 2006
  8. ^ Black Prince rides again - in miniature Yorkshire Evening Post
  9. ^ Look again at decision to axe this bus service Yorkshire Evening Post

External links[edit]