West Riding Automobile Company
The company was created as a subsidiary of the Yorkshire (West Riding) Electric Tramways Company Limited, which was founded in 1904 to operate electric tramway services in the area. However, by the 1920s, there was a decline in the use of tramways, and the West Riding Automobile Company was created to operate bus services from its bases in Wakefield and Castleford. 22 Bristol 4-ton vehicles were purchased at a cost of £30,000, and services began on Easter Monday 1922. The speed of changeover was rapid, with the Castleford tramway system being abandoned just three years later.
The company purchased its rival J Bullock and Sons Limited of Featherstone in 1950 and therefore doubled the size of its fleet. In 1952 it funded the construction of a bus station close to the Bull Ring in Wakefield at a cost of £60,000. By the mid-1950s, the company was the largest British operator to be in private hands.
After local government reorganisation in 1974, the company worked with the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive which organised services in the area.
Following deregulation of public transport in 1986, West Riding once again became a private company under the business name of Caldaire Holdings. The company was taken over by British Bus plc in 1995, which was eventually purchased by the Cowie group in 1998, and now operates local services under the Arriva logo.
During its period of operation, West Riding has also had financial interests in a variety of other local operators, including Yorkshire Woollen, Compass Bus and the South Yorkshire Road Transport Company.
The West Riding Company used a variety of vehicles, including those produced by Guy, Bristol, AEC and Daimler, although in later years it tended to prefer those produced by Leyland. The company was involved in the development of the Guy Wulfrunian from 1959 onwards, and purchased 132 of the 137 vehicles which were produced.