The original home of the Crosville Motor Company, Chester’s bus scene has changed significantly in the 36 years since deregulation, as MALCOLM COWTAN explains

The address Crane Wharf, Chester, will have a resonance for anyone familiar with the British bus scene of the past 90 years. This was the headquarters of what originally was the Crosville Motor Company, for many years one of the country’s biggest bus companies.

A Massey-bodied Chester Corporation Guy Arab V in the city centre in March 1978

Crosville operated the bus services from Chester to neighbouring towns, and to the rural hinterland. Most city services were provided by Chester City Transport’s (CCT) fleet, noted in the 1950s and 1960s for a large fleet of Guy Arabs, and before that for its Fodens, built not far away at Sandbach.

From an agreement between Crosville (renamed Crosville Motor Services following voluntary liquidation in May 1929), and CCT made in 1932, the city’s current bus scene can be traced. This agreement held good until deregulation in 1986. Services today are roughly divided between Arriva and Stagecoach, with some independent presence. The transition from the historic position described to the present day was, however, by no means straightforward.

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