Black Prince Buses

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Black Prince Buses
Founded 1969
Defunct 2005
Headquarters Morley
Service area West Yorkshire
Service type Buses
Fleet 40 buses (at closure)

Black Prince Buses were a family-operated bus company based in Morley, West Yorkshire, England. Founded in 1969 as a coach firm, it expanded into local bus operation following bus 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.[1] Its name was inspired by Edward, the Black Prince, a statue of whom stands in the centre of Leeds.[2]

In 1986 bus 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.[2]

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.[3]

Sale and subsequent history[edit]

In May 2005 FirstGroup announced its intention to take over 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.[3] This was one of the first uses of the failing-firm defence, which was created under the Enterprise Act 2002.[4]

The takeover was completed on 31 July 2005. Several service changes were made to reduce competition with existing First Leeds routes.[1] Planning permission was originally granted for the company's depot in Morley to be demolished and replaced by a supermarket.[1] 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.[5]

Black Prince was the last family-owned independent bus operator in Leeds prior to the takeover.[6] In August 2005 a commemorative model of a Black Prince vehicle was released by Britbus.[7]

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.[8]

Black Prince's founder Brian Crowther died in February 2008.[1]