|Service type||Bus services
|Routes||16 (October 2016)|
Lakeside Shopping Centre
|Chief executive||Peter Newman|
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.
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.
As the vehicles arrived, Ensignbus moved to new 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.
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.
Open top tour operations
In October 1985 Ensignbus purchased the London Pride Sightseeing open top bus tour business. 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.
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.
London tendered services
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:
- 8 1989 built Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian double-deckers
- 5 1989 built Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian double-deckers
- 16 1988 built MCW Metrobus double-deckers
In July 1989, it purchased the business of Frontrunner South East from Stagecoach East Midlands with route 248 and 252. 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.
Ensignbus briefly re-entered London tendered service, 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.
Essex & Kent services
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 strengtening. 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. As at October 2016, it operated 16 routes.
Today Ensignbus retains a small bus service network centred on Grays station and Lakeside Shopping Centre 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. In 2016, it became a dealer for BCI products, starting with the BCI Enterprise high capacity integral double-decker.
Ensignbus maintains a fleet of heritage buses with AEC Regent III, AEC Routemaster, Daimler Fleetline, Leyland Titan, MCW Metrobus and Scania Metropolitans represented. As well as being available for charter, Ensignbus operate these at an annual running day on the first Saturday in December each year.
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.
- Companies House extract company no 2656574 Ensign Bus Company Limited
- "The History of Ensignbus" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Ensign now is the pride of London Commercial Motor 19 October 1985
- Martin Curtis: Top draw sightseeing in Bath Bus & Coach Professional 30 August 2006
- Tour de France: city bus firm bought by European business Bath Chronicle 2 March 2011
- RATP Dev announces the acquisition of the Original Tour RATP Group 11 September 2014
- "Ensignbus sells City Sightseeing". routeone. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Ensign increases MCW order Commercial Motor 9 June 1988
- EBS to buy Frontrunner Commercial Motor 6 July 1989
- From Hong Kong by bus Commercial Motor 10 January 1991
- Bus Services Ensignbus
- "Network Ensign] Coach & Bus Week issue 1260 3 October 2016 pages 16-24
- Bus Services Ensignbus
- "Public Transport Timetables". Thurrock Council. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Getting to Intu Lakeside". Lakeside Shopping Centre. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Bus Sales Ensignbus
- Ensignbus goes high capacity with decker deal Route One 14 June 2016
- Restorations Ensignbus
- Into Autumn - the countdown to running day starts here... Ensign Vintage Buses Blogspot