Wilts & Dorset
|Parent||Go South Coast (part of the Go-Ahead Group)|
|Service type||Bus services|
|Fleet||133 More, 74 Salisbury Reds (August 2016)|
|Chief executive||Andrew Wickham|
Wilts & Dorset is a bus operator providing services in East Dorset, South Wiltshire and West Hampshire. It operates services around Bournemouth and Poole under the More brand and around Salisbury and Amesbury under the Salisbury Reds brand. It is part of Go South Coast, a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group.
The current bus company has operated since 1983. Wilts & Dorset was also the name of a former Salisbury based bus company from 1915 until 1972.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
The history of Wilts & Dorset is an interesting one, with its name both appearing and disappearing from the sides of buses. Its history is linked to that of erstwhile south coast operator, Hants & Dorset.
The original company
Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Limited was incorporated in 1915, with its head office in Amesbury, moving to Salisbury in 1917. The company's first route was between Salisbury and Amesbury. The company grew rapidly in the Andover, Amesbury, Blandford Forum, Pewsey and Salisbury areas. The Southern Railway and Thomas Tilling obtained shares in 1931, with Wilts & Dorset being nationalised in 1948. It acquired Venture of Basingstoke in 1950, with a reorganisation following the nationalisation of Venture’s parent, Red & White. Wilts & Dorset acquired Silver Star of Porton Down in June 1963.
In 1963 the management of Wilts & Dorset passed to Hants & Dorset, a neighbouring state-owned bus company. In 1969 both companies became part of the National Bus Company and in October 1972 were merged under the Hants & Dorset name with the Wilts & Dorset name ceasing to be used.
The Transport Act 1985 led to the privatisation of the National Bus Company. In preparation for privatisation, in April 1983 Hants & Dorset was split into three operating companies, one of which was Wilts & Dorset Bus Company.
The new Wilts & Dorset company's operating area was considerably larger than its older namesake, including Swanage, Poole, Bournemouth, Lymington, Devizes, Swindon and Salisbury, although not Basingstoke. Depots were located in Blandford Forum, Lymington, Pewsey, Poole, Ringwood, Salisbury and Swanage.
Privatisation and beyond
In May 1993 Damory Coaches of Blandford Forum was purchased, followed in November 1993 by Oakfield Travel and Stanbridge & Crichel Bus Company, and in January 1994 by Blandford Bus Company. All were combined under the Damory Coaches name.
On 31 July 2008 a W&D open-top bus collided with two cars between Studland and the local chain ferry, injuring 30 people. The bus, a route 50 service travelling from Swanage to Bournemouth, collided with both a Volkswagen Golf and a Porsche, the latter of which was driving away from the chain ferry on Ferry Road and crashed head on with the bus and the other car. A number of passengers reported the bus travelled a distance on two wheels, and the eventual toppling took place at low speed. The top-deck passengers were all thrown off onto soft ground in a ditch. Six passengers were taken to Poole Hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the Porsche was later convicted of driving without due care and attention.
In 2011, Wilts & Dorset started trialling a smart card ticketing system named "the key"; in 2012 it was launched across the entire network with passengers being able to save up to 33% instead of purchasing paper tickets.
In 2014, it was announced that the bus station on Endless Street, Salisbury, would close in favour of town centre stops. The station had opened in 1939 as the headquarters of Wilts & Dorset.
In July 2012 it was announced that the Wilts & Dorset name would be dropped from bus services in favour of the More brand in Poole and Bournemouth, and Salisbury Reds in Salisbury and Amesbury.
Wilts & Dorset operates a large number of services in East Dorset, West Hampshire and South Wiltshire under six different brand names. Bus services in Poole, Bournemouth and the surrounding areas are branded as More Bus. Bus services in Salisbury, Amesbury and the surrounding areas are branded as Salisbury Reds Buses.
The brand was launched in December 2004 as a premium service replacing routes 101 to 105 between Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch, and routes 155, 156 and 157 between Poole and Canford Heath. The service launched with 30 Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLE single-deck buses. The buses carried a livery of mostly dark blue with red at the back; the original 30 also carried slogans such as "looks like a bus, works like a dream".
Such was the success of the 'more' services, the frequency on the m1 and m2 routes was increased and the m1 extended to the Castlepoint shopping centre on the outskirts of Bournemouth from Bournemouth railway station. With only 30 'more' branded buses in the fleet at the time, the 'more' branded routes to Canford Heath were discontinued, with the 'm' dropped from the route number and standard liveried vehicles used. For these routes to become 'more' routes again, a batch of Mercedes-Benz Citaros were ordered. The original 'more' buses were going to be Citaros, but it was thought that Volvo would offer a quicker delivery time. Further changes to the routes occurred on 25 May 2008, with the m2 being withdrawn from Burton (transferred to Route X12 which was later withdrawn also) and Somerford to terminate at Boscombe.
During 2010 the 'more' brand was refreshed with every bus being repainted in a slightly brighter, simpler version of the previous livery, each highlighting a good reason for using the 'more' buses; for example "morefrequent" was applied to Wright Volvo Eclipse 119 (now 2219) HF54 HGM.
In May 2011, routes m5 and m6 were once again dropped from the 'more' brand and renumbered as routes 5 and 6.
In June 2012, Wilts & Dorset announced a £5.5 million investment in 36 Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo buses to be used on the m1 and m2 routes whilst the previous 38 Volvos and Citaros would be cascaded onto other services, replacing older buses. Also at this time, routes 8 and 9 became part of the 'more' brand.
On 30 May 2008 the more 'Nightbus' sub-brand launched with the m1's operating every half-hour between Poole Bus Station and Charminster (Five Ways), and the m2's operating every half-hour between Bournemouth Square and Iford Roundabout on Friday and Saturday nights.
During June 2010, the m1 nightbus was extended beyond the Five Ways to the Broadway Tavern, a few minutes up Charminster Road. May 2011 saw the m2 nightbus route changed beyond Pokesdown to serve Southbourne (Fisherman's Walk).
In June 2012, a new nightbus route, the N3, was launched connecting Bournemouth to Bournemouth University. Also, all three services started operating on Thursday nights, in addition to Friday and Saturday nights. February 2013 saw the withdrawal of the Thursday nightbus services, along with the N3 route.
The 'more' brand operates four routes on behalf of Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth. During the summer of 2016, the services were rebranded as 'Unibus', with new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC's arriving in a new livery, all with different colour schemes. These buses have Wifi and USB chargers on board, which passengers can use at no extra cost. A new route 17 was also launched, which connects the university with Bournemouth and Poole via the railway stations.
From 2004, when the university contract transferred to Wilts & Dorset from Yellow Buses, until the end of 2009, services were branded as Unilinx and operated by a mixed fleet of double-deck buses (Optare Spectras and brand-new Volvo B7TL ELC Myllennium Vyking convertibles) painted in a modified version of the 'more' livery. Unilinx-branded buses were also a common sight on non-Unilinx services, especially on service 152 (latterly the 52) where ELC Myllennium Vyking buses ran open-top throughout the summer.
In 2009, when the university contract was renewed, eight buses (of which six were Scania Enviro 400 double deckers) were used on the U1, U2 and U4 routes, with a Scania Solar single deck bus on the U3 route. These were purchased new, while an ex-London articulated Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus was introduced to route U1 on 10 January 2010, primarily running a shuttle service to boost capacity between Talbot Campus and the student residences at Lansdowne. It was believed to be the first such bus in service on the South Coast, and initially had its route number and destination blinds as part of its livery (including a misspelling of 'Cranborne' as 'Cranbourne') as this bus was used exclusively between Talbot Campus and Cranborne House. From January 2010, these routes were branded as 'The Bus for Bournemouth University' or 'The Bus for BU', with buses appearing in the institution's primary corporate colours of white and pink. For the 2012–2013 academic year, a second articulated bus was acquired.
The New Forest Tour
Former 'more' & non-'more' routes
- m5: Poole – Canford Heath – Tollerford Road via Oakdale
- m6: Poole – Canford Heath – Tower Park via Oakdale
- m7: Poole – Canford Heath – Nuffield Industrial Estate via Oakdale
The m7 was dropped as part of the Poole route restructuring from 4 June 2006. Service on m5 and m6 increased as a result and a while later, lost their more branding and became standard routes during the changes of 1 May 2011.
- 8: Poole – Upton via Oakdale & Creekmoor
- 9: Poole – Turlin Moor via Hamworthy
- Merged and turned into a circular service (both ways) and joined the 'more' brand on 3 June 2012.
- 3: Poole – Broadstone – Wimborne/Leigh Park
The Wimborne Flyer, also known as service 3, replaced the Poole to Wimborne section of service 132 after the major restructuring of Poole services in June 2006. It runs four times an hour Monday to Saturday. The service differs from the old service 132 by taking a direct route between Poole and Broadstone, using a faster route through Merley and extending the service from Wimborne Square to the Leigh Park estate. The service when launched was almost exclusively operated by Mercedes-Benz Citaros in the new standard Wilts & Dorset livery, though 'more' Citaros and Wright Eclipse Urbans were also seen.
Local residents criticised the change of route, specifically through Merley where the buses took a narrower but more direct road through the estate. Some criticism has also been aimed at the Citaro buses after a number of accidents, including buses demolishing walls while trying to pass each other on a narrow road  and tearing hanging baskets from walls in Wimborne Square while turning. Following numerous complaints, Wilts & Dorset rerouted the service through Merley from 29 October 2006, reverting to part of the old 132 route through Merley Gardens.
From 6 April 2008 two out of the four buses per hour started to run via Corfe Mullen rather than Merley with all services also stopping at Broadstone Broadway. Services to and from Leigh Park only run during the morning and evening peak. With the Wimborne Flyer now covering the section of route between Broadstone and Corfe Mullen, most service 4 journeys started to terminate at Broadstone.
As part of the 2012 June 3 network changes, the 3 was withdrawn and was merged with Route 4 extended beyond Broadstone to Wimborne either via Merley or Corfe Mullen. After many complaints, Route 4X was introduced between Poole & Broadstone/Merley via the old Route 3 during the morning and evening rush-hour towards the end of June 2012. Towards the end of July 2012 however, it was announced that Route 3 would be re-instated from 17 September 2012 and that both routes 3 & 4 would join the more brand.
More operates 3 all-year services under the Purbeck Breezer brand, with service 40 going from Poole to Swanage via Wareham and Corfe Castle, service 50 being an open-top service that runs from Bournemouth railway station to Swanage via the Sandbanks Ferry and service 60 going from Poole to Sandbanks via Canford Cliffs and Lilliput. These services run more frequently in the summer, with summer only services, that, as of 2017, include service 30 from Swanage to Weymouth (and one trip each way to/from Dorchester) and service 70, that goes from Bournemouth to Poole via Canford Cliffs and Alum Chine.
PulseLine was the name of services round Salisbury to the District Hospital. In 2010 the name was replaced by Salisbury Reds, using the previous Mercedes-Benz Citaros repainted in the revised Wilts & Dorset livery with Salisbury Reds branding. In addition to the Citaros, ex Southern Vectis Dennis Dart MPDs were transferred and repainted into Wilts & Dorset livery with branding applied.
Salisbury Park and Ride
This service began operation in March 2001 to one park and ride site, Beehive, to the north of Salisbury city centre. A second site was opened at Wilton in 2005, and two more followed, taking the total to four. A fifth site was later opened at Petersfinger, to the south-east of the city.
Initially the routes used Optare Excels in a light green and white livery. In 2005 these were replaced by new Volvo B7RLEs, also in green and white; for a short period in late 2004 the service was operated using 'more' branded B7RLEs.
In February 2011 Wilts & Dorset lost the contract to operate the Salisbury Park and Ride network to independent operator Hatts Travel.
In August 2014, due to the collapse of the Hatts group, the park & ride contract was handed back to Salisbury Reds to run for Wiltshire Council.
The Stonehenge Tour
The Stonehenge Tour was rebranded in 2008, linking Salisbury railway station, the city centre and Stonehenge. A recorded commentary describes the views along the length of the route. The tour was operated by Wills & Dorset Optare Spectras, but is now run using a combination of Scania Omnidekka and Scania Olympus vehicles, which have been specially painted in a New Stonehenge Tour Livery.
- 8: Salisbury – Boscombe Down – Amesbury – Tidworth – Andover
Activ8 is a joint half-hourly service between Salisbury and Andover via Tidworth operated in partnership with Stagecoach South and supported by Wiltshire and Hampshire County Councils. The brand was launched in February 2007. Wilts & Dorset primarily use specially branded Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s on the route, having previously used Scania OmniCitys and Optare Spectras.
-  Fleet
- Companies House extract company no 1671355 Wilts & Dorset Bus Company Limited
- Wilts & Dorset: Our history
- Silver Star Motor Services Ltd Peter Gould
- Hants & Dorset Motor Services Ltd Peter Gould
- Companies House extract company no 2091878 Wilts & Dorset Holdings Limited
- Charlie's Cars, Bournemouth & Poole Buses and Trams
- Morris, Stephen (Autumn 1996). "From chaos to uneasy peace". Buses Focus. 3.
- Oakfield Travel Countrybus
- Stanbridge & Crichel Bus Company Countrybus
- Damory Coaches Collins Place
- Bus buy for Go-Ahead The Guardian 12 August 2003
- About Tourist Coaches
- "Porsche driver arrested after crash". Sky News. 31 July 2008.
- "Many hurt as open bus overturns". BBC News. 31 July 2008.
- Pendlebury, Fiona (18 March 2009). "Porsche driver convicted over Studland bus crash". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "Bus station closes after 75 years". BBC News: Wiltshire. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "Omnibuses: More Paint". Omnibuses.blogspot.com. 12 September 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Unibus". www.thebusforbu.co.uk. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- "Contact Us | New Forest Tour". www.thenewforesttour.info. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- "Bournemouth Echo". Bournemouthecho.co.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- Accident fears after bus smash Bournemouth Daily Echo – 28 September 2006
- Outcry after bus collision Bournemouth Daily Echo – 29 June 2006
- U-turn on bus route Bournemouth Daily Echo – 2 October 2006
- "Broadstone residents call for Route 3 bus to be reintroduced (From Bournemouth Echo)". Bournemouthecho.co.uk. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Flyer bus service returns (From Bournemouth Echo)". Bournemouthecho.co.uk. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "travel update". Morebus.co.uk. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "travel update". Morebus.co.uk. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Purbeck Breezer". More Bus. Go South Coast. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- BBC – Wiltshire – Work starts on Salisbury's second Park and Ride
- Park and ride | Wiltshire Council
- Petersfinger park and ride | Wiltshire Council
- Wilts & Dorset loses park and ride contract Salisbury Journal, 28 February 2011
- Salisbury Reds to operate new Park & Ride services for Salisbury "Salisbury Reds", 31 July 2014
- Morris, Colin; Waller, Andrew (November 2006). The Definitive History of Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Ltd, 1915–1972. Hobnob Press.
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