Bus Vannin

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Bus Vannin logo.png
Bus Vannin bus 166 (JMN 52 R) 2009 Volvo B9TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, Cregneash, route 1, 25 February 2010.jpg
Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL
in February 2010
Parent Department of Infrastructure [1]
Founded October 1976; 41 years ago (1976-10)
Headquarters Douglas
Service area Isle of Man
Service type Bus services
Hubs Banks Circus, Port Erin & Ramsey
Stations Douglas, Port Erin & Ramsey
Fleet 67 (January 2015)
Website Bus Vannin website

Bus Vannin (Manx: Barroose Vannin) - styled as bus vannin - is the government-owned and operated bus service on the Isle of Man. The name was adopted in June 2009 to replace Isle of Man Transport. The company was founded on 1 October 1976,[2] as National Transport, which was an amalgamation of two other operating companies.


Lord Street bus station in 1961
Douglas Corporation Northern Counties bodied AEC Regent III in April 1961
Douglas Corporation Guy Otter in September 1961
Mercedes-Benz Citaro at Port Erin in September 2014

The first omnibus services on the island were provided by the Manxland Bus Co Limited, in addition to several smaller operators which operated independently. Primary means of long-distance travel was by way of either the Isle of Man Railway to the west, south and north (via the westerly side of the island) or Manx Electric Railway on the east coast.

When bus competition became a threat to the Isle of Man Railway, it bought out the bus company and operated it as Isle of Man Road Services in conjunction with the railway. In addition to the island-wide services Douglas Corporation also operated a fleet of buses around the capital, distinctive by their yellow livery. As the railway company began to falter, it relied more heavily on the bus operation, and when the railway lines closed for the first time in 1965 the bus services were intensified to replace the rail services.

The vehicles of Road Services carried an allover red livery with two off-white bands and the Railway Company crest was modified to include a facsimile of a bus instead of a railway locomotive. The buses of Douglas Corporation which only operated within the borough, carried an allover yellow livery with two red bands and corporation crest.

Both operators used the bus station on Lord Street in Douglas as their base. Today, this site has been given over to car park whilst buses use roadside lay-bys on Lord Street itself. The two companies operated services independently from this site until the operations began to falter in the early 1970s at which time government intervention was required to ensure continued operation.


When the service was nationalised in 1976 the buses carried National Transport logos and a new livery, predominantly of red with white trim, having previously carried a variation of this colour scheme under the Road Services banner. The nationalised service was characterised by its use of many second hand vehicles from England, a practice which continued until relatively recently, from a variety of sources including Liverpool Corporation, Preston Corporation and Ribble Motor Services. Such vehicle types included Leyland Atlanteans from Merseyside PTE, Portsmouth Transit, SELNEC and Tyne & Wear PTE, Leyland Olympians from Devon General, Dublin Bus and Stagecoach, and Leyland Lynxs from Halton Transport.[2]

By 1987 when a new management scheme was under way, a new livery of cream and red was introduced, and Isle of Man Transport adopted as the title, using a similar design motif to all the island's government departments including a triskelion motif. During this period the buses carried a variety of advertisements along their side panels, with several distinctive buses carrying all-over advertising for local businesses including the Gaiety Theatre, Lombard Bank, Wild Life Park and the National Coal Board.

A further change of leadership in 1999 saw the introduction of brand-new buses and gradual phasing out of older stock, latterly used only on school services, and the advertising policy changed resulting in no advertisements appearing at all. By 2009 a further change of policy resulted in the reintroduction of advertisements which has proved popular, with local radio stations, estate agents, travel agents and cinemas taking advantage of the new schemes.


The nationalised bus service on the island came into being in 1976 as National Transport taking over from both the Road Services (a subsidiary of the Isle of Man Railway Company) and Douglas Corporation Transport, operated by the municipal authority. The vehicles were liveried in an all-over red colour scheme, later changed to include wide white banding although with the fleet consisting of a wide selection of different second hand vehicles the uniform appearance was not successful. By 1987 the white banding had become cream in colour, and the full Isle of Man Transport name was added to all vehicles. During the period up to 1997 advertising panels were carried on the sides of some vehicles, and, in certain cases, all-over advertising was used (see above).

In April 2009, eleven new Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TLs were added to the fleet, carrying a maroon and cream livery with the Bus Vannin branding which is now used in all literature and timetabling information. Not all of the fleet have been rebranded to carry this new livery, however the Wright StreetLites that entered service in 2010 were delivered in the new livery although the overall colour scheme is largely cream with some maroon detailing, the opposite of the 2009 deliveries.

In 2010 Hullad Oie (night owl) late night services were introduced on the timetable and these services operate at weekends into the early hours serving the satellite towns from Douglas departing at approximately midnight. Totems at bus stops are in the process of being updated to the new maroon scheme and wording also appears in Manx Gaelic on these, and digital destination displays on the vehicles also have an option to show the place names in the language as well.

Between 2011 and 2013, thirty Mercedes-Benz Citaro LE single deckers were delivered these are presented in a silver livery with Bus Vannin decals - this being the new standard livery for all buses in the Bus Vannin fleet.

The bus service continues to be operated by the government but is now more clearly segregated from the railways, which are now called Isle of Man Heritage Railways though they remain managed by the same group.


Bus stations[edit]

Ramsey Bus Station in September 2014

There are three bus depots on the island which provide passenger facilities and storage areas for off-duty buses. With the exception of Douglas, these are located at one position, with the Douglas storage area at Banks Circus being a workshop and bus yard with no passenger facilities. The passenger facilities provided at all the main stations are limited, and some facilities are only open during certain times of the day.

  • Douglas (Lord Street) - shelters only
  • Port Erin (Bridson Street) - toilets, waiting area
  • Ramsey (Princes Road) - toilets, waiting room


Port Erin depot in July 2009

In the past there was a depot in Laxey, the site later being occupied by Princes Motors and vehicle storage yards are also located next to the depots at Port Erin and Ramsey. A depot in Peel closed in 2010. The garage and facilities in Ramsey were taken over from the original Manxland Omnibus Company, and have remained in bus company ownership ever since.

The yard at Port Erin is on the site of former railway platforms whilst the original garage now houses the Port Erin Railway Museum which opened in 1975; the current garage was built as a replacement the following year and remains open today.

  • Douglas (Banks Circus)
  • Port Erin (Station Road)
  • Ramsey (Princes Road)


A wide range of routes are operated by Bus Vannin. Many of them are operated on a regular daily such as routes from Douglas to other large towns on the island and also local services around Douglas. There are some routes however which are operated on a less frequent basis on certain days of the week to smaller towns and villages around the island due to lower passenger numbers.

From September 2009 night bus services were introduced to Port Erin and Port St Mary (N1), Ramsey (N3) and Peel (N5). These services are operated on Fridays and Saturdays only.

The most recent timetable change came into effect in March 2015.

Ticketing & fares[edit]

Owing to the combined nature of operations on the Isle of Man, Rail tickets purchased on the Isle of Man Railway between Douglas and Port Erin and also on the Manx Electric Railway between Douglas and Ramsey are valid on buses (bus tickets however are not valid on the Heritage Railways). The ticket prices (which are available as single and return) are based on the zones all over the island, and multi-journey tickets vary in cost and colour depending zones you pass through when you use one. The standard fares vary from 50p to £1.40 for children and 90p to £3.10 for adults,[3] whilst Isle of Man senior citizens travel free of charge at off-peak times.

The latest timetable update was released in May 2014. [4]

Since the update of the timetable in September 2010, there are several different new kinds of tickets available. The Short Hop fare is for passengers that are travelling up to 3 stops in towns. These cost 60 pence per ticket, and are bought on the vehicle. The multi journey Manx Rider ticket, which is valid for twelve single journeys offers discounts averaging 25%. The price and discount are based on the normal bus fare for the journey rather than zones.

Island Explorer tickets entitle the holder to unlimited travel on scheduled services on all of the island's transport network, except for the Manx Express bus service. Adult tickets include one accompanying child free of charge. Child fares apply between 5 and 15 years old, or those between 16 and 19 still in full-time education in possession of a school card.

There is also the Bus Saver bus-only rover ticket available, which offers unlimited travel on all services, except for Manx Express services. These are available in 1, 3, 5 or 7 day options with Saver 1 tickets also available from on board the vehicle.

There is a 5-day Heritage Explorer ticket available and, like the Island Explorer ticket, this offers unlimited travel on scheduled bus services (except Manx Express buses), Isle of Man Steam Railway, Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway, and Douglas Horse Trams. This ticket, like the other Explorer tickets, gives a child (5 to 15 years) free travel with an accompanying adult, and their ticket. The ticket also entitles the holder free admission to all Manx National Heritage sites.[5]

The full range of discount and Explorer tickets is available from the depot in Ramsey, manned ticket offices at the main railway and tramway stations and from the Welcome Centre in the Sea Terminal in Douglas.


As at January 2015, the fleet consisted of 67 vehicles.[6]


  1. ^ "Community, Culture and Leisure - Dissolved". Isle of Man Government. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Isle of Man National Transport 1977 - 2009 The Classic Manx Buses
  3. ^ "Isle of Man Government - Bus and Rail". iombusandrail.info. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Isle of Man Government - Bus and Rail". gov.im. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Bus Vannin". dartslf.com. 

External links[edit]