Southern Vectis

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Southern Vectis
Southern Vectis 1151 HW09 BCV 4.JPG
Scania OmniCity in Cowes in August 2009
Slogan the island's buses
Parent Go-Ahead Group
Founded 1929
Headquarters Newport
Service area Isle of Wight
Service type Bus services
Fleet 105
Operator Go South Coast (part of the Go-Ahead Group)
Chief executive Andrew Wickham

Southern Vectis[1] is the dominant bus operator on the Isle of Wight. Formed in 1921 and later owned by the Southern Railway, it was nationalised in 1948 and became part of the National Bus Company in 1969. Privatised in 1987, it became a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group in July 2005.

In the 1980s it engaged in some aggressive tactics to try and stifle its competitors. This attracted the attention of the Office of Fair Trading.


Past Lettering & Logos
Tilling Group gold lettering pre-1972
After privatisation in 1986 until 1995
The logo used from 1995 until 2006
The previous logo used from 2006 until 2013

The origins of Southern Vectis began with a company called Dodson & Campbell, founded in 1921.[2] In 1923, this was renamed the Vectis Bus Company, based in Cowes and with a distinctive livery of saxe blue and red, and 'VECTIS' fleet name. It had an association with London bus body builder Christopher Dodson, therefore, all Vectis buses of the period had Dodson built bodies.

Double-deckers at Ryde depot in 1979

In 1929 the business was bought by the Southern Railway and incorporated as The Southern Vectis Omnibus Company Limited.[1] In 1948, the Southern Railway was nationalised, and as a result, so was Southern Vectis. This led to Southern Vectis becoming part of the National Bus Company in 1969. In 1986 as a consequence of the Transport Act 1985 the business was sold in a management buy out.[3][4]

Deregulation meant that other companies could register and run bus routes against previously nationalised bus companies. This was significant for Southern Vectis in two ways: the company which had a virtual monopoly on Isle of Wight transport was exposed to competition from no fewer than five operators, and Southern Vectis itself expanded in 1987 forming Badger Vectis in Poole, and Solent Blue Line in Southampton using older Southern Vectis buses and second-hand double-deckers, to compete with the dominant Southampton Citybus on their most profitable routes.[5]

"Deregulation for the Isle of Wight has simply meant that we have competition on one route, and basically everything else is exactly as it was before deregulation on the rest, except where we had a public company, it's now a private company."

— Dermot Bremner, Transport Officer for the Isle of Wight (1987)[6]

From the start of deregulation, Southern Vectis was one of the most aggressive of the new bus operators, illustrated by the company's restored monopoly of Isle of Wight services and the fact that Solent Blue Line, (now Bluestar), retains a strong presence within Southampton and Hampshire alongside what remains of City Bus in First Hampshire & Dorset.

The newly privatised Southern Vectis expanded its business into other areas on the island too, the company bought a self-drive van hire firm and also 2 Ford Granada taxis, which it ran from Cowes Pontoon.[7] The taxis both served as a new venture for the company, and a way to take on one of its then new competitors, Gange Taxis & Minicoaches, on their home turf. Taxibus services were also pioneered by Southern Vectis on the island, where taxi firms were appointed to run rural routes which would otherwise not be served. However, Southern Vectis had relinquished its involvement in taxis all together by 1989.[7]

Preserved Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol RE in post 1995 cream red and green livery in June 2008

The company made national news in 2003 with the launch of a pink punishment school bus nicknamed 'The Pink Peril' designed to take badly-behaved students to and from school.[8][9] The vehicle was the oldest in the fleet, an Iveco minibus fleet number 283. The scheme initially proved a success but was later scrapped.

In July 2005 Southern Vectis was sold to the Go-Ahead Group.[10] This sale included both Southern Vectis and Hampshire subsidiary Solent Blue Line. Southern Vectis along with mainland companies Bluestar and Wilts & Dorset, is part of Go South Coast.

One of the first changes under the new ownership was an amended network in April 2006, using Newport as its hub, with most other routes linking to it. Although resulting in the loss of some existing routes, like the Island Explorer, the change proved largely successful; within 18 months passenger numbers had increased by 45%, with a 14% growth in fare-paying customers. This was one of the largest increases in the UK and has continued since.[11]

In October 2009, Southern Vectis launched a website promoting its own car scrappage scheme, offering Island residents who agreed to scrap their cars a season ticket of up to 12 months. Southern Vectis announced five vehicles had been scrapped within the first fortnight and it had received around 6,000 enquiries.[12] So far, the scheme has seen 75 vehicles scrapped including a horsebox, with a claimed carbon saving of 145 tonnes per annum.[13]

In 1994, Southern Vectis became a shareholder in the Polish bus company Kaliskie Line Autobus, with 18.38% of the company's shares. In September 2010, this holding was sold to the majority shareholder, the City of Kalisz.[14]

Dealings with competition[edit]

Gange's Minicoaches (left) ran a competing bus route against Southern Vectis (right) in the late 1980s

Southern Vectis was the National Bus Company subsidiary on the Isle of Wight before its break-up and privatisation in 1986. It began, and remains, the dominant operator on the island, with token competition.[15] Southern Vectis now faces virtually no competition following the Isle of Wight Council's Wightbus operation ceasing in September 2011.

Bus services[edit]

Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol LH at Ryde bus station on route 1A in June 1987 during the period when Southern Vectis engaged in duplication

As a result of deregulation in 1986, several competitors emerged, or increased an existing presence running routes competing with Southern Vectis. These included Gange's Minicoaches, Grand Hotel Tours, Island Travel (aka Cooke's Coaches of Porchfield), Moss Motor Tours, RedLynx, Seaview Services and Wiltax of Shanklin.[2][16]

Both Island Travel and Gange's Minicoaches, which established routes between Cowes and Ryde,[2] ceased running their bus services partially due to anti-competitive practices by Southern Vectis. These included Southern Vectis running their own vehicles immediately ahead of competitors' where routes coincided, a practice known as duplication.[2][17] These tactics were by no means temporary, in the case of Gange's Minicoaches, they continued up until the firm ceased running bus services two and a half years later.

Competitors accused Southern Vectis of enlisting a "special squad" of drivers which went as far as lying in wait for a competitor to appear in the distance and immediately setting off in front to pick up whatever passengers were waiting at the next stop. The squad tasked with running ahead of Gange's Minicoaches was termed the "Gangebusters" by staff.[18]

Duplication tactics were seen again in 1991, Southern Vectis shadowed an Isle of Wight County Council contracted bus run by Norman Baker Taxis, and as a result the Council was forced to terminate the contract, or face being accused of wasting poll tax payers' money.[17]


Throughout these disputes, Southern Vectis insisted that its solution was "franchising" routes, stating that the company was the "market leader" in the practice.[17] In such a case, Southern Vectis would let another operator run one of their (usually less profitable) routes, in return for a share of the takings of the route.

Franchising was initially successful in Southern Vectis' mainland business, where the company franchised Solent Blue Line routes to Marchwood Motorways. Franchisees who took on routes from Southern Vectis itself included M-Travel, who took on the Newport Town Circular. The Traditional Bus Company and The Village Bus Company, who took on some of the open top routes including the Shanklin Pony. The last franchisee was The Alpha Group, which ran the Newport Town Circular after M-Travel's collapse. Since that time Southern Vectis have not franchised any routes to operators.

Refusal to allow access to bus stations[edit]

Competitors were forced to use bus stops outside of Newport bus station, which they claimed were deliberately obscured by parked double-deckers

In 1986, the newly privatised Southern Vectis inherited Newport Bus Station, the island's main bus terminus as part of the deal. This caused numerous headaches for upstart competitors, who were refused access to what Southern Vectis considered their private land, but the public thought was the place all buses would be available from, regardless of which company they were operated by.

Southern Vectis' refusal to allow Gange's Minicoaches to use Newport bus station prompted an investigation in 1987 by the Office of Fair Trading.[2] This was the first time the deregulated bus industry had come under investigation from the OFT.[19] The OFT report, published in 1988, found Southern Vectis' behaviour to be anti-competitive, preventing smaller bus operators from establishing awareness and competing effectively.[20][21]

Southern Vectis was presented with an ultimatum following the report, either allow competitors to use the bus station, or face the then Monopoly and Mergers Commission. The company decided that the former was preferable, and allowed competitors access to the bus station. Southern Vectis' relatively small competitors would have to fulfil "reasonable terms" to use the station, but they were never properly defined, and were subject to further complaints.[15]

The publication of this report meant that no bus company could keep competitors out of their bus stations, a result that resonated across Britain. Gange's Minicoaches was offered use of Stand F in Ryde bus station, and was also offered a stand in Newport bus station. However, Gange's did not find the charges set for either station agreeable, and continued to operate from the opposite side of Ryde bus station (part of the highway, so owned by the council) and the South Street bus stop in Newport, until their service was discontinued.

The current Newport bus station design includes a stand which is on the public highway, Stand F. This stand was utilised by Wightbus prior to ceasing their services, for all their services stopping at the station. In Ryde, Wightbus used Stand G. All other stands were utilised by Southern Vectis exclusively.

School bus services[edit]

In 2008, after the sale to Go-Ahead Group, Southern Vectis again practised duplication, this time running parallel to the Isle of Wight Council's Wightbus school services. These buses did the same job as the Wightbus services and ran at the same time, and Southern Vectis could still claim term ticket fees for the students getting onto their ghost services from the council. Southern Vectis claimed to have contractual issues with the council and wanted the contract to be reworked.[22]

From the start of the school term in September 2010, the vast majority of school buses were run by Southern Vectis under contract to the Isle of Wight Council. This was awarded as a closed contract for the whole school lift, meaning the general public can no longer use the services. Wightbus no longer operated any school routes.

Current operations[edit]

Standard services[edit]

Southern Vectis operates 15 standard bus services,[23] the most frequent being route 1, running every 7–8 minutes.[24]

Night buses[edit]

Night buses run on some routes on Friday and Saturday nights:[4]

Open-top buses[edit]

Island Breezers liveried Northern Counties Palatine bodied Leyland Olympian open top bus at Yarmouth in October 2007
Shanklin Steamer liveried Northern Counties Paladin bodied Volvo B10B in July 2011
Plaxton Premiere bodied Volvo B10M in Island Coaster livery

Southern Vectis runs 2 open-top routes during the summer,[25] usually from early April until September/October. All of the routes are circular, operating in one/two directions. Designed to serve tourist attractions, each route (apart from the Shanklin Steamer) is operated under the Island Breezers brand, introduced in 2007 with orange and blue livery, replacing the orange and yellow Open Top Tours branding. This is now being updated with refurbished low floor easy access vehicles and new route-based livery, due to be completely rolled out by summer 2015.

Open-top tours operated by the company include The Needles Breezer, The Downs Breezer and The Shanklin Steamer.

In April 2009 these tourist-focused services became ineligible for the Over 60s free bus scheme.[26] The Sandown Bay Breezer did not return for the 2012 season.

Shanklin Steamer[edit]

During 2011, due to the aftermath of the council cuts it was announced the road trains were to be scrapped, talks between the Isle of Wight Council and Southern Vectis to start up a bus service based on the former Shanklin Road Train route was discussed. Thus the Shanklin Steamer was introduced; the route covers such tourist destinations as Old Village, Shanklin Esplanade, Shanklin Chine and Railway Station. It is operated by an Ex Fire Damaged Double-deck bus called "Phoenix".

Island Coaster[edit]

The summer Island Coaster service introduced in 2007 runs between Ryde and Alum Bay. It now runs from various start points with more journeys and disabled friendly vehicles replacing the two journeys each way that used coaches, aimed at tourists. To avoid residents using it for local journeys, local fares are not available on this service. Passengers are recommended to buy the company's £10 all-day ticket,[27] although the longer-period versions preferred by residents are also valid.[28] From 15 March 2009, along with other seasonal Island Breezer routes, no concessions were available on the route.[26] The Island Coaster follows the route of 2 former services, the 12 from Ryde to Sandown and the 7/7A from Sandown to Alum Bay.

The route serves attractions such as Freshwater Bay and Blackgang Chine, linking them with Ventnor, Shanklin, Sandown and Ryde. To get between Blackgang Chine and Brook near Brighstone, the service uses the Military Road. Prior to the network revision in spring 2006, services had operated on this road under the Island Explorer name. As the new route was not introduced until summer 2007, there was no service along the road in the summer of 2006.

The 2008 service began on 15 March, ahead of the main timetable change, with a number of amendments. The route number of X40 was dropped (although still displayed on buses), leaving the service only with a name, similar to the open top tours, and the route no longer serves Bembridge Coast Hotel or Sandown Esplanade. The service was suspended for the winter at the end of 2 November, later than the previous year.

For the 2009 season the system of two departures within 30 minutes, matching the perceived flow of traffic to/from West Wight, is replaced. There is just one morning and one afternoon journey each way, one of which terminates or starts in Shanklin rather than Ryde. Most journeys on the route are extended from Freshwater Bay to Yarmouth, although some no longer serve Alum Bay.[29][30] Another change for 2009 is the introduction of coaches for the route, instead of using regular buses.[31]

During 2013 due to the uplift of the Island Coaster due to the Isle of Wight Council Bid[32] 4 double deck buses were transferred from the Events Fleet with conversions under place to carry such items as Cycles & Surfboards, it also means there will be 4 return journeys during peak times.

Former operations[edit]

Dotto Road trains[edit]

An Isle of Wight Council Dotto road train formerly operated by Southern Vectis

Up until September 2009, three road trains were run along the seafront of three island towns, Ryde, Shanklin and Sandown, designed specifically to enable tourists to easily get to various points along the beach. The services were run by Southern Vectis under contract to Isle of Wight Council. In April 2010 it was announced that the vehicles would be retired due to increased costs in maintenance due to their old age.

For the 2010 season, the Sandown road train was withdrawn and used only as a spare. The Ryde road train ceased on 25 September 2010 and the Shanklin road train at the end of October 2010. In January 2011 the Dotto Trains were sold to a dealer in Llandudno.[33]

In 2011 the former Shanklin roadtrain was replaced by the The Shanklin Steamer using a converted Volvo B10B. Due to DDA Compliance laws The Volvo B10B was Withdrawn and For a Period of time a Leyland Olympian was used but now its run by Ex Fire damaged Scania Omnicity N270UD 1111 (HW58 ASX) its currently a Fresh open topper Called "Phoenix" and carries a new Original Registration : (VDL 744.

The routes the road trains used to operate were.[34]

  • Ryde: linking the Esplanade with the beaches at Appley and Puckpool
  • Shanklin: linking the Esplanade with Queens Road, The Old Village, Town Centre and Railway Station
  • Sandown: linking the Pier and Esplanade with Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight Zoo, and the beach at Yaverland

Home to School transport / Coach unit[edit]

Southern Vectis' involvement in coaching has varied through the years; early in the company's history the firm took no interest in coaching whatsoever, preferring to leave the field to other operators. However, the company became involved in coaching through acquisition and conglomeration.

Currently, the Southern Vectis coach unit has seen a significant reduced, with the replacement of large sections of the previous coach fleet with new 'Vectis Blue' branded buses. The purpose of the unit has shifted over time, but is currently geared towards serving the Isle of Wight Council school contract.


Coaches in Moss Motors, West Wright, Fountain and Island Coaster liveries in April 2010

Currently Southern Vectis operates a number of coaches and a large fleet of buses under its new Vectis Blue 'home to school' transport brand.

Prior to late 2012, Southern Vectis operated a large coach fleet with multiple brands, representing some of the better known island coach companies that Southern Vectis had purchased over the years. While these 'companies' existed on liveried vehicles and were mentioned on the company's website and literature, they were in all other aspects 'Southern Vectis' vehicles. The brands were:

  • Fountain Coaches, once a rival to Southern Vectis, was assimilated into the nationalised Southern Vectis when the National Bus Company rationalised in 1969.[35] Shamrock and Rambler, the mainland business which was previously in control of Fountain Coaches is where the firm obtained its livery of orange and cream.[36] The livery has changed and alternated over the many years Southern Vectis have used the fleetname. Now the fleetname has reappeared after the Go-Ahead takeover, these coaches are painted orange, white and brown.
  • West Wight Bus & Coach Company and four of its coaches were purchased by Southern Vectis in 1987, and briefly used as a fleetname alongside Southern Vectis and Fountain Coaches vehicles during this period. The firm had previously sold its stage carriage/bus service business to Southern Vectis in 1952.[37] The name has also returned after the Go-Ahead takeover as a fleetname for coaches and some of Southern Vectis driver transport minibuses. West Wight's livery of grey and red has been reinterpreted by Southern Vectis as maroon and grey.
  • Moss Motor Tours, another former competitor of Southern Vectis, was a coach tours and bus operator on the island between 1923 and 1994. In 1994 the name and goodwill of the company was purchased Southern Vectis. However, the name has only been used as a fleetname by Southern Vectis coach unit since the Go-Ahead takeover in 2005. The name is used on a number of coaches, and several mostly blue double-deckers. The livery used for the Southern Vectis Moss fleet varies, but is mostly based on the two tone blue used on Moss' classic coaches. In contrast to the actual Moss Motor Tours which was known for its pristine coach fleet, the Southern Vectis coaches that carry the Moss name are largely second hand.
  • Wightrollers, in stark contrast to the three other former competitors to Southern Vectis listed above, Wightrollers is a recent acquisition. The firm was purchased by Go South Coast in July 2011 after revealing that it was in financial difficulties. Southern Vectis has also taken on much of the staff from the firm, and its 11 coaches now operate under Southern Vectis' control.

School services[edit]

The current primary purpose for the coach unit is the transport of children to school, and the unit has seen rapid expansion after Southern Vectis won the vast majority of school contracts away from the Isle of Wight Council's own Wightbus service. Wightbus is proposed to shut down, partially as a result of this development.[38]

In September 2009 Southern Vectis ran these coaches on bus routes registered with the traffic commissioner, and placed dedicated school bus stops along these routes, however the company has since cancelled these registered services and now runs the coaches entirely under a contract tendered by the council. Southern Vectis used to use its coach brands, in particular Moss Motors on its school bus services.

From September 2008, foreign students were due to be educated in bus queuing etiquette after complaints from residents about being 'pushed away' while trying to board the bus.[39] On 16 March 2008, a new school bus timetable came out with several new routes shadowing some of the Wightbus school routes, with some controversy.[22] However, these routes were axed for the following school bus timetable on 3 September 2008.

Since July 2012 a new £28m school deal was awarded to Southern Vectis with new vehicles being ordered with some transferring from sister Go-Southcoast company Damory Coaches, the new single decks ordered were Optare Solo SR M920's which arrived in September 2012. With the new double deckers being ordered from Alexender Dennis these were delivered for the January 2013 term all vehicles use the current coach brand "Vectis Blue".

Other services[edit]

The company takes part at events including the Isle of Wight Festival and the Bestival. Additional buses are brought to the island – usually fellow Go South Coast buses – for the extra visitors. During the Isle of Wight Festival, extra shuttle services are run from Lymington to Yarmouth Wightlink ferry terminal, from the Southampton to East Cowes Red Funnel ferry terminal, and from the Portsmouth to Fishborne and Portsmouth to Ryde Wightlink ferry terminal and Fastcat passenger boat terminal, with a buses meeting every crossing.[40]

An Open Top Christmas Lights Tour is run during December until early January every evening (excluding 24–26 December). One of the company's Island Breezer liveried buses takes a route past the most illuminated houses. The route lasts for 2 hours and travels through Newport, Binstead, Brading, Newchurch and Godshill.[41] For the 2008 tour, a stop at the Old World Tea Rooms in Godshill was added for a complimentary mince pie and hot drink.[42]

The company ran the Sailbus during Cowes Week in 2009. Since the start of the service, it has been operated by Wightbus. However the lack of a sponsor for the 2009 event and the fact the Isle of Wight Council no longer run the Northwood House car park and receive no income from it, caused the council to reach agreement with Southern Vectis to run the service with a £1 a journey fare.[43] However, as the service had always been free in the past, few people were willing to start paying for the service. It was proposed that parking charges for Northwood House be increased during Cowes Week to help with running costs of the service however trustees of the house disagreed and the service did not run in 2010.[44]

Fares and subsidies[edit]

Southern Vectis has been found to increase fares more strongly than the industry average, blamed by industry observers on the firms incredibly strong market position and lack of effective competition,[15] however the company claims fare rises are done in line with inflation to represent the increase in costs of running bus services, and cites the island's high population of elderly residents (whose travel is free) as a factor in the high fare costs.[45] The company runs a fares review at the turn of each year, the latest occurred at the start of February 2009 with the lowest price single fare, from one bus stop to the next, rose from £2 to £2.50. Additionally the highest single fare rose from £4, to £4.50. Return fares are not available on most Southern Vectis services.

At each fare rise Rover and Freedom tickets are usually frozen, however these are already priced comparatively high as opposed to the firms sister companies; for example a one-day 'Rover' ticket on Southern Vectis costs £10,[46] whereas an 'Explorer' pass that encompasses the entirety of the Bluestar and Wilts & Dorset networks is £8.50.[47]

With the new network from April 2006, Southern Vectis amended many of their fares. Notably, the maximum single fare was capped at £4. This remained in place despite general fare rises, but has since been raised back to £4.50

Student Rider[edit]

Students under 19, in full-time education on the Isle of Wight, received discounted fares under the Isle of Wight Council's Student Rider scheme. The scheme initially offered any single journey for 50p.[48] The popularity of the scheme led to sometimes steep increases in the Student Rider fare, from 50p to £1 in 2008[49] and then again up to £1.20 in 2010.[50]

Discontinuation and half-fare extension[edit]

In July 2010 after cuts in funding from central government to local authorities nationwide, it was recommended that the scheme should be scrapped. Protests were launched on the day of the meeting with over 100 students demonstrating outside County Hall. Despite this, the council still voted to axe the scheme from September. As of 1 September 2010, Student Rider passes no longer work. In response to the discontinuation, Southern Vectis raised the age at which half-fares could be obtained to 18, the firm had previously maintained the pre-1948 school leavers age of 14 as its limit. Young people will have to provide photo ID to prove they are 18 or under, which for many means bringing their passport on board the bus; however, Southern Vectis recommends that young people get a Citizencard to prove their age, and at the time hinted that it may provide a card of its own.[51]

Senior bus pass[edit]

Island residents and visitors living in England over the qualifying age or with a disability can travel free in the council area at any time of day, under the Government's England-wide scheme. The subsidised fares resulted in a significant rise in passengers, which led to increased services and drivers. During the first year of the scheme in operation, around 2.1 million journeys were made. From 1 April 2008, bus passes are issued England-wide, meaning holders can travel the country free. This was estimated to increase free journeys to 3.8 million from April 2008 to March 2009. Concessionary travel now makes up just under half of all journeys made on Southern Vectis buses.[11] Southern Vectis have made improvements in preparation; for example in 2008 the Needles tour had an extra bus rostered to avoid possible overcrowding.

Threats of cuts[edit]

Subsidised fares have continually been put under threat since their introduction, particularly the Student Rider scheme, as the Isle of Wight Council had no legal obligation to fund it. Similarly, unlimited free travel for pensioners has been put under threat on several occasions as the Council continues to experience a shortfall in funding and other financial pressures caused by the recession.[52] Most recently the Council stated that from April 2010 it was uncertain about whether it could continue.[53] Later in November it was confirmed free travel would be restricted to off-peak times only.[54]

On 16 November 2007, the Isle of Wight Council proposed to cut the 76 per cent it pays for each concessionary fare down to 48 per cent. It said that if the current rate continued in 2008-09, the company would be making a huge profit. However Southern Vectis said it would leave them out of pocket by more than £1 million, and normal passenger fares could have to rise as much as 54 per cent.[55] The cut was agreed by the Isle of Wight Council in November 2007[56] and, as a result of this, further rises to fares took place from 1 April 2008.[57] The cost of concessionary travel in 2007 was £3 million; it was expected to rise to £5 million in 2008.

As a result, Southern Vectis announced that from the new timetables on 17 March 2008 almost all evening, Sunday and night buses would be axed, and some routes changed.[58][59] More details about the service cuts emerged soon after.[60] While night buses were cut, there have not been the level of reductions initially implied.

Another consequence was the withdrawal of routes 27, 28 and 29 from 1 September 2008. Originally run under tender to the council, when the over-60s bus pass scheme was introduced, more passengers were carried and Southern Vectis agreed to run them commercially. However, since the cut in subsidy, the services became unviable. The council is providing replacement services with Wightbus routes 29, 30, 32 and 33.[61]

In November 2008, Southern Vectis threatened that should the Council cut the concessionary fares reimbursement rate in 2009, it would withdraw from the Student Rider scheme. The company is already appealing to the Secretary of State against the original reduction from 76 per cent to 48.05 per cent of each concessionary fare. Southern Vectis stated that they will not continue to voluntarily participate, although the council can serve a compulsory notice for it to do so.[62]

In 2009 the amount the Isle of Wight Council pays Southern Vectis was again reduced. The effect of this resulted in a reduction in the frequency of routes 4 and 5, some journeys removed from route 6, routes 14 and 16 combining and route 22 being withdrawn.[63] This caused further problems as, with the additional running costs staff received no increase in pay for 2009, resulting in strike action on three days in September.[64] Later cuts are being planned by reducing the frequency of route 9, amalgamating route 10 into route 8 and withdrawing route 11.[65]

Due to the large shortfall in funding to support the scheme, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised a review into the way funding was distributed by the end of the financial year of 2009. Previously, the government had indicated the earliest review would be in two years time.[66] This later resulted in a promise of increased payments to support the scheme of around £890,000 for 2010. However, this will still leave a large shortfall and still remains unclear about how much of this funding will actually be passed onto Southern Vectis.[67]


Plaxton Pointer 2 bodied Dennis Dart at Cowes in May 2009

The company has a total bus fleet of 105 vehicles as of April 2014. Single-deck buses operated are mainly Enviro 200's, which replaced the Dennis Dart SLF's. Double-deck buses in the fleet include seven Volvo B7TL/Plaxton Presidents of which two are open-top, 28 Scania OmniCitys of which one has been converted to open-top following an engine fire[citation needed] and 16 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's, of which six are on loan. The company's coaching fleet, Vectis Blue is now mostly made up of 20 Alexander Dennis double deckers and around 15 Optare Solos along with a few vehicles acquired from fellow Go South Coast subsidiaries. These are primarily used for transporting students to and from school, and the coach fleet is expanding as more school services are converted to seat belted coaches.[68]


Since April 2006, all buses have been painted with a new livery of two shades of green. It also consists of a newly designed logo and the new slogan the island's buses.[69] There are some exceptions to this new livery. The Needles Breezer livery was refreshed in 2014, with 2 Volvo B7TL's which were converted to open-top repainted in a new livery for The Needles Breezer to replace the ageing Leyland Olympians. The remaining open-top routes have a blue and orange livery, with "Island Breezers" branding Coaches used the two-tone blue livery, with "Vectis Blue" branding.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 241973 The Southern Vectis Omnibus Company Limited
  2. ^ a b c d e The Director General of Fair Trading (1988). The Southern Vectis Omnibus Company Limited: Refusal to allow access to Newport Bus Station, Isle of Wight (Report). Office of Fair Trading. 
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 2005917 Southern Vectis Limited formerly Southern Vectis plc
  4. ^ a b Who we are Southern Vectis
  5. ^ we are bluestar Bluestar
  6. ^ "Bus Wars". Facing South. 1987. TVS. 
  7. ^ a b Newman, Richard (1989). Southern Vectis: The First 60 Years. Ensign Publications. p. 44. ISBN 1-85455-025-X. 
  8. ^ "Iwight - pink bus press release". 2007. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2008. 
  9. ^ Lightfoot, Liz (20 May 2003). "Ride on pink bus drives unruly pupils to behave themselves". London: Retrieved 18 May 2008. 
  10. ^ Recommended Cash Offer for Southern Vectis plc Go-Ahead Group 11 July 2005
  11. ^ a b "Isle of Wight County Press - "Island feels strain of rise in bus use"". Retrieved 24 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Scrappage scheme a success". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 30 October 2009. 
  13. ^ "Eco Island - Get wheels in motion" (PDF). Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Kalisz: city bought shares in Kalisz bus lines 14 September 2010
  15. ^ a b c National Economic Research Associates (December 1997). "The Effectiveness of Undertakings in the Bus Industry". OFT. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Newman, Richard (1989). Southern Vectis: The First 60 Years. Ensign Publications. p. 43. ISBN 1-85455-025-X. 
  17. ^ a b c Maurice Leppard (20 September 1991). "Buses Rout of Small Rivals". Isle of Wight County Press. 
  18. ^ reynardbizzar (February 2008). "Gangebusters ready for action". Flickr. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "Vectis forced to share", Commercial Motor, 168 (4620), p. 13, 26 February 1988 
  20. ^ Bishop, Matthew; John Anderson Kay; Colin P Mayer (1995). The Regulatory Challenge. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-877342-0. 
  21. ^ Hern, R (2003). "Competition and access pricing in the UK water industry". Utilities Policy. Elsevier. 10 (3-4): 117–127. doi:10.1016/S0957-1787(02)00032-2. 
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Further reading[edit]

  1. Newman, Richard (2004). Southern Vectis 1929-2004: 75 years serving the Isle of Wight. Colourprint books. ISBN 978-1-904242-24-6. 
  2. Kraemer-Johnson and Bishop, Glyn and John (2006). Glory Days – Buses on the Isle of Wight. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 0-7110-3114-2. 
  3. Booth, Gavin (2006). Bus Operators 1970: South-West and Southern England. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 0-7110-3034-0. 
  4. Haines, John (2001). Where in the world are the Southern Vectis Buses?. G&K Publications in conjunction with DTS Publishing. ISBN 1-900515-35-0. 
  5. Newman, Richard (1989). Southern Vectis: The First 60 Years. Ensign Publications. ISBN 1-85455-025-X. 

External links[edit]