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Ensignbus bus 193 (T193 CLO), 4 May 2013.jpg
Service areaEssex
Service typeLocal bus services, contract services
Routes16 (October 2016)
HubsGrays station
Lakeside Shopping Centre
Chief executivePeter Newman

Ensignbus[1] is a bus and coach operator and bus dealer in Purfleet.


Alexander Royale Volvo Olympian in 2004
Marshall Capital bodied Dennis Dart SLF on Rail replacement in April 2012
Weymann bodied AEC Regent III at Clapton Pond in October 2005

Ensignbus was formed in 1972 by Peter Newman, who along with his sons Ross and Steve remains involved today. Peter Newman is Chairman and Ross and Steve are Directors. Ensignbus commenced with a small number of bus contracts for the Port of London Authority and Lesney Products and later diversified into bus sales and operating open top bus tours.[2]

Bus sales[edit]

The company came to prominence in the UK when London Transport decided to dispose of its unpopular and poor performing Daimler Fleetlines from 1979. Ensignbus was the only company willing to bid for all these buses as one batch, numbering over 2,000 buses, as preferred by London Transport.[2]

As the vehicles arrived, Ensignbus moved to larger premises in Purfleet. While some were scrapped, Ensign sold many of these buses to operators around the country and abroad, with many ex-municipal companies and new operators requiring cheap re-inforcements for enhanced competition following the deregulation of bus services in 1986. Over 400 were sold to China Motor Bus in Hong Kong.[2]

During the London Pride Sightseeing operation Ensignbus continued selling buses in smaller numbers from a site in Rainham. With the sale of London Pride, Ensignbus moved to another site in Purfleet, and grew its sales business.[2]

Ensignbus was involved in the sale of London's Routemaster buses following their withdrawal from regular use.[3] As of 2013, it was the largest used bus dealer in the UK.[4]

Open top tour operations[edit]

In October 1985 Ensignbus purchased the London Pride Sightseeing open top bus tour business.[5] Through links gained by selling open top buses to other operators around the world, Ensignbus expanded the concept to other cities setting up new tours. In January 1998 the open-top tour business was sold.[2]

Starting in 1998 with an operation in Seville, in 1999 Ensignbus launched the City Sightseeing global sightseeing bus brand with a worldwide franchise model, and proceeded to rapidly expand into several cities. In May 2002 City Sightseeing bought out its main rival Guide Friday.

In November 2000 Ensignbus reacquired the London Pride Sightseeing business but sold it in 2001 to The Original Tour. In June 2004, Bath Bus Company was purchased. Ensignbus transferred its City Sightseeing operations in Cardiff, Eastbourne and Windsor to become part of Bath Bus Company.[6]

In February 2011, the Bath Bus Company business was sold to the RATP Group.[7][8] In April 2011 Ensignbus sold City Sightseeing to Enrique Ybarra.[9]

London tendered services[edit]

Also as a result of deregulation, in the mid 1980s Ensignbus expanded into tendered London Buses work in East London. Starting with one or two routes, Ensignbus gained a network of routes, using several second hand vehicles and batches of new vehicles:

In July 1989, it purchased the business of Frontrunner South East from Stagecoach East Midlands with route 248 and 252.[11] In December 1990 Ensignbus sold its London tendered bus services to Hong Kong company Citybus with the Dagenham depot and 87 buses. It was rebranded as Ensign Citybus and then Capital Citybus.[12]

Ensignbus briefly re-entered London tendered service[when?], taking over routes 324 and 348 from First Capital who had bought Capital Citybus. Routes 325 and 509 were later added. before once again selling its London services in December 1999, this time to Town & Country Buses.[2]

Essex & Kent services[edit]

In 2004, Ensignbus commenced operating a 12-month rail replacement contract in Kent for South Eastern Trains while the Higham and Strood tunnels were closed to strengthening. To make use of the dead running from its Purfleet depot, route X80Chafford Hundred to Gravesend via Lakeside and Bluewater Shopping Centres was introduced. It proved successful and hence was kept going after the rail contract finished. In 2006, Ensignbus commenced operating services under contract to Thurrock Council and began operating services in Thurrock in competition with Arriva Southend.[13][14] As at October 2016, it operated 16 routes.[15] In April 2017, Ensign took over two further routes in Thurrock from Amber Coaches.[16]


AEC Routemaster in the Pride London Parade 2016

Today Ensignbus retains a small bus service network centred on Grays station[17] and Lakeside Shopping Centre[18] It also regularly provides buses for rail replacement services to train operators including Abellio Greater Anglia, c2c, Southeastern and Transport for London.

Ensignbus also operates a dealership selling used buses from several major UK and Irish operators.[19] In 2016, it became a dealer for BCI products, starting with the BCI Enterprise high capacity integral double-decker.[20] The company acts as a partner to Vantage Power, a firm developing technology to retrofit existing buses with diesel-electric hybrid engines.[4] [21]

The company won the Small Bus Operator of the Year title at the RouteOne Awards in October 2017.[22]

Ensignbus maintains a fleet of heritage buses with AEC Regent III, AEC Routemaster, Daimler Fleetline, Leyland Titan, MCW Metrobus and Scania Metropolitans represented.[23] As well as being available for charter, Ensignbus operate these at an annual running day on the first Saturday in December each year.[24][25]


Ensignbus has fleet of both single and double deck buses which are a combination of new and second-hand purchases. Fleet livery is light blue and silver. The fleet includes six hybrid electric buses delivered in 2012.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2656574 Ensign Bus Company Limited
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The History of Ensignbus" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  3. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4075085.stm
  4. ^ a b https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/10153536/Vantage-Powers-hybrid-engines-find-niche.html
  5. ^ Ensign now is the pride of London Commercial Motor 19 October 1985
  6. ^ Martin Curtis: Top draw sightseeing in Bath Bus & Coach Professional 30 August 2006
  7. ^ Tour de France: city bus firm bought by European business Archived 18 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Bath Chronicle 2 March 2011
  8. ^ RATP Dev announces the acquisition of the Original Tour RATP Group 11 September 2014
  9. ^ "Ensignbus sells City Sightseeing". routeone. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  10. ^ Ensign increases MCW order Commercial Motor 9 June 1988
  11. ^ EBS to buy Frontrunner Commercial Motor 6 July 1989
  12. ^ From Hong Kong by bus Commercial Motor 10 January 1991
  13. ^ Bus Services Ensignbus
  14. ^ "Network Ensign] Coach & Bus Week issue 1260 3 October 2016 pages 16-24
  15. ^ Bus Services Ensignbus
  16. ^ http://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/04/04/ensign-buses-step-run-two-key-routes/
  17. ^ "Public Transport Timetables". Thurrock Council. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Getting to Intu Lakeside". Lakeside Shopping Centre. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  19. ^ Bus Sales Ensignbus
  20. ^ Ensignbus goes high capacity with decker deal Route One 14 June 2016
  21. ^ https://www.theengineer.co.uk/hybrid-moves-on-the-buses/
  22. ^ http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/business/plymouth-citybus-named-best-operator-583922
  23. ^ Restorations Ensignbus
  24. ^ Into Autumn - the countdown to running day starts here... Ensign Vintage Buses Blogspot
  25. ^ http://www.thurrockgazette.co.uk/news/14933246.Vintage_buses_running_for_one_day_only/
  26. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-17498300

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′38″N 0°13′54″E / 51.49399°N 0.2317°E / 51.49399; 0.2317