Magic Bus (Stagecoach)

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Magic bus logo.JPG
Magic Bus Stagecoach Manchester 17665 Dennis Trident Alexander ALX400 V165 DFT.jpg
Parent Stagecoach
Founded 1986
Locale Manchester
Hubs Manchester Piccadilly bus station
Wilmslow Road bus corridor
Fleet Alexander Dennis Enviro 400
Operator Stagecoach Manchester

Magic Bus is a brand of Stagecoach Group for local bus operations in the United Kingdom, usually operated on routes with strong competition from other operators.


Alexander RH bodied Leyland Olympian in Manchester in July 2008

The name was first introduced in Glasgow in 1986, where ex London Transport AEC Routemasters were used on a route to Castlemilk.[1] In 1992 this operation was sold to Kelvin Central Buses.[2]

The brand was used in Newcastle around 1997 also when trying to eliminate smaller companies operating in the area. The buses were prone to breaking down due to their age and broken down Magicbuses in Newcastle were common sights.

The Magic Bus brand was reintroduced to Glasgow by Stagecoach West Scotland in 2002.[3] At its peak it was used on three routes; one was withdrawn in 2005,[4] and the remainder in 2006. It was also used more recently in Liverpool by Stagecoach Merseyside.

The Magic Bus brand was introduced by Stagecoach Manchester to the Wilmslow Road bus corridor where Bullocks Coaches, Finglands Coachways and UK North competed.

In 2006 the Magic Bus brand was introduced in Manchester on route 192 to counter a bus war started by UK North.[5] Following UK North being delicenced, the Magic Bus ceased operating on route 192 with all services provided by Stagecoach liveried buses.[6]

Buses used in Manchester have been older buses from the Stagecoach Manchester fleet including Leyland Olympians, Volvo B10Ms, Volvo Olympians, Scania N113NRBs as well as some 3-axle Leyland Olympians imported from Stagecoach's Citybus operation in Hong Kong (via a stint with Megabus) and Kenya.

In April 2012, Magic Bus was introduced in Rotherham by Stagecoach Yorkshire on route 22 to compete directly with First South Yorkshire's service of the same route number, albeit a slightly different route terminating at Manvers instead of Barnsley. Dennis Darts were used on this service.[7][8] This service has since ceased due to low patronage.

In April 2010 Stagecoach Manchester purchased competitor Bullocks Coaches bus operations,[9] however the sale of Finglands Coachways to First Greater Manchester has ensured competition remains on the corridor.[10] In September 2014, route 141 commenced.[11][12]

Present operations[edit]

As of November 2016, the Manchester Magic Bus fleet consisted of 77 2007/08 built Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s transferred from the Stagecoach Manchester fleet, operating on Wilmslow Road routes 141, 142, 143 and 145.[13][14]

Magic Mini[edit]

The brand was also used in Ayrshire for a time to compete against Ayrways in Ayr and T&E Docherty in Irvine. The Ayr operation used minibuses and larger single-deck buses branded as Magic Mini, which were introduced in February 2004.[15] The brand has since been dropped in Ayrshire when the competing operators withdrew their services.

The Magic Mini brand was also engaged in a miniature bus war on the Black Isle to Inverness route in the Scottish Highlands with local operator Scotbus, with Stagecoach in Inverness adopting aggressive tactics such as scheduling buses five minutes before the rival operator and undercutting fares. Competition between the two operators was acrimonious, climaxing in an arson attack on Stagecoach's Inverness depot.[16]


  1. ^ Bus Industry Shooting Star With A New Target In Sight The Herald (Glasgow) 9 April 1989
  2. ^ Brown, Stewart J (September 1993). Buses in Britain. Capital Transport. p. 13. ISBN 1-85414-158-9. 
  3. ^ Only minutes to wait as bus war looms on lucrative route The Herald (Glasgow) 27 May 2002
  4. ^ Magic bus route to vanish The Herald (Glasgow) 15 April 2005
  5. ^ Council concerns over 'bus war' BBC News 3 April 2006
  6. ^ Bus companies banned from roads BBC News 22 December 2006
  7. ^ Bus 22 22X X22 Travel South Yorkshire
  8. ^ Service 22 Magicbus Rotherham - Manvers - Wath Stagecoach April 2012
  9. ^ Bus firm sells routes Manchester Evening News 19 April 2010
  10. ^ FirstGroup plc Agree to Acquire Finglands Bus Operations in Manchester FirstGroup 1 August 2013
  11. ^ Route 141 timetable Transport for Greater Manchester 15 September 2014
  12. ^ All aboard! New bus route for Birley Manchester Metropolitan University 31 October 2014
  13. ^ Weekly Ticket - Magicrider Stagecoach Manchester 31 March 2013
  14. ^ Stagecoach Manchester Fleetlist North West Buses 7 April 2015
  15. ^ Millar, Alan (May 2004). "Stagecoach spells Magic in Ayr". Buses. Ian Allan Publishing (590): 7. 
  16. ^ "Man jailed over bus depot fires". BBC News. 14 February 2006. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Magic Bus at Wikimedia Commons