Harrogate Bus Company

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The Harrogate Bus Company
Harrogate Bus Company.png
Harrogate Bus Company route 36, Station Parade, Harrogate (7th September 2017).jpg
Route 36 liveried Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5TL in Harrogate in September 2017
ParentTransdev Blazefield
Founded1906 (116 years ago)
HeadquartersProspect Park
Broughton Way
North Yorkshire
Service areaNorth Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
Service typeBus and coach
Fleet70 (as of October 2013)
Chief executiveAlex Hornby

The Harrogate Bus Company (formerly Harrogate & District, and brand-name Transdev in Harrogate) is a bus operator based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. It is a subsidiary of Transdev Blazefield.[1]


A Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL operating the Riding Redefined 36 service, seen departing from Harrogate Bus Station in March 2008.

In 1906, The Harrogate Road Car Company was formed, initially operating steam buses, before adopting conventionally-fuelled vehicles 1911.

In 1924, the company was absorbed into Tilling & British Automobile Traction and renamed Harrogate & District Road Car Company. Following the company's expansion the company was renamed West Yorkshire Road Car Company in 1927, to reflect the wider service area provided.[2]

In 1948, along with other companies that were then part of the Tilling Group, West Yorkshire Road Car Company was nationalised. In 1968, West Yorkshire Road Car Company became part of the National Bus Company.[2]

In 1987, West Yorkshire Road Car Company was sold in a management buyout, to former East Yorkshire Motor Services managing director Alan Stephenson's AJS Group. In December 1988, the business was split into smaller companies, one of which was Harrogate & District Transport Limited.[1][2]

Harrogate Independent Travel was set up as an independent in 1986, following the deregulation of bus services, by a number of West Yorkshire's Harrogate drivers to challenge their employer. This company was purchased by AJS Group in April 1989.[3][4]

In 1991, Harrogate & District Travel was one of a number of AJS Group subsidiaries sold to Blazefield Travel. In 1996, the Ripon operations of Cowie's United Automobile Services was purchased.[5][6][7][8]

In January 2006, Harrogate & District Travel was included in the sale of Blazefield Holdings to Transdev, with the company re-branded as Transdev in Harrogate.[9][10]

In July 2016, the company was again re-branded, now operating as The Harrogate Bus Company.[11][12]

Routes and brands[edit]


A Wright Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL operating service 7 to Wetherby then Harrogate, seen at New Briggate in Leeds.

The Harrogate Bus Company[edit]

A Harrogate Electrics branded Volvo 7900E, under a charging station at Harrogate Bus Station.

A rebrand of the company commenced in July 2016 from the former Transdev in Harrogate branding. This brought a new two tone Red livery. A number of different services operate under this brand including a number of school services operated by the company. This livery is also used as a base for other service brands including Harrogate Electrics, The 1, and The 7.

Harrogate Electrics[edit]

A number local services running in and around Harrogate are operated by a fleet of 8 fully-electric, high-specification Volvo 7900E vehicles, branded in the two tone red Harrogate Electrics livery. The vehicles were introduced in July 2018, following a £1.7 million investment from Transdev, together with £2.25 million of funding granted from the Government's Low Emission Bus Scheme.[15][16]

The 1[edit]

This is the brand used for routes between Harrogate and Knaresborough. Services include the 1 which operates just between the two towns, the 1A to Aspin, 1B to Eastfield, 1C to Carmires, and 1D to The Pastures. These services are operated by nine Volvo B7RLE Eclipses in a two tone red livery, offering free WiFi, USB power, and next-stop information.

Harrogate Bus Company route 36, Station Parade, Harrogate (7 September 2017)

The 7[edit]

This is the brand used for route 7 between Harrogate, Wetherby, and Leeds. This service is operated by seven Volvo B7RLE Eclipses in a two-tone red livery, offering free WiFi, USB power, and next stop information.[17]

36 Riding Redefined[edit]

One of Blazefield's flagship services, it serves Leeds, Harrogate and Ripon up to every ten minutes. This service is operated by 16 high-specification Volvo B5TL Gemini 3s in a black and red livery. Offering free Wifi, USB power, and next stop information.[18]

Former operations[edit]

A significant former route was the Airport Xpress 767 service, running from Harrogate to Leeds Bradford Airport. The service was operated by the then Harrogate & District from April 2005, until the contract was awarded to Dales & District, in April 2010. The link between Harrogate and Leeds Bradford Airport is now provided by the new Flyer A2 service of Yorkshire Coastliner, operating out of Idle, after taking over the contract from Yorkshire Tiger on 30 August 2020.

A re-tendering exercise carried out by North Yorkshire County Council in 2011, saw all council contracted routes operated by the company pass to other operators in the area, excluding the X59 service, which operated between Harrogate and Skipton. This service was operated commercially, and at a reduced frequency, for a short period, until it was withdrawn in March 2013.[19] The service was reintroduced in May 2021 on Saturdays.[20]

Bus war[edit]

In 2011, then Transdev in Harrogate, became involved in a bus war with local independent operator, Connexionsbuses. The bus war concerned services operating around Wetherby Bus Station.[21][22]


  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 2327319 Harrogate & District Limited
  2. ^ a b c A brief history Harrogate Bus Company
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 2326011 Harrogate Independent Travel Limited
  4. ^ AJS swallows Challenger Commercial Motor 20 April 1989
  5. ^ Companies House extract company no 2188825 Blazefield Travel Group Limited
  6. ^ AJS sells remaining bus firms Commercial Motor August 1991
  7. ^ Jenkinson, Keith A (1999). Small is Beautiful, The Story of the AJS Group and Blazefield Holdings. Autobus Review Publications. ISBN 0907834426.
  8. ^ First for Fearnley in UK Bus move Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 26 January 2011
  9. ^ Transdev acquires Blazefield Group Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 7 January 2006
  10. ^ A new stop for Blazefield Yorkshire Post 9 January 2006
  11. ^ "Harrogate Bus Company celebrates 110 years of service" Coach & Bus Week issue 1253 16 August 2016 page 10
  12. ^ "Transdev rolls out two more rebrands" Buses Magazine issue 738 September 2016 page 9
  13. ^ "Harrogate Bus Company routes and brands". Transdevbus.co.uk.
  14. ^ "The Harrogate Bus Company – bustimes.org". bustimes.org. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Harrogate to get electric bus fleet". Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  16. ^ Harrison, Matt (29 July 2018). "Power to the people! Harrogate's Electrics are live". Transport Designed. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  17. ^ "The Harrogate Bus Company". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Transdev Harrogate redefines the 36". Bus & Coach Buyer. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  19. ^ Tate, Lesley (7 February 2013). "Skipton to Harrogate bus service is axed". Craven Herald & Pioneer. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  20. ^ "New Harrogate to Skipton bus service on Saturdays". The Stray Ferret. 27 April 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  21. ^ Harrogate to Wetherby bus war breaks out BBC News 4 July 2011
  22. ^ War erupts over bus service Harrogate Advertiser 9 July 2011

External links[edit]

Media related to Harrogate & District (bus company) at Wikimedia Commons