Title: London’s Buses 1979-1994
Author: Andrew Bartlett
Publisher: Pen & Sword Transport
Specification: 290mm x 220mm, 256pp, hardback
This is an illustrated history of London Transport’s last 15 years as a public sector bus operator, a period of great change when politics played a big part in the provision of a vital public transport service.
They began with the adoption of London Buses as London Transport’s trading name for its bus services and devolution of day-to-day operational management to eight districts named Abbey, Cardinal, Forest, Leaside, Selkent, Tower, Wandle and Watling. They ended with the sale of what by then were ten companies — CentreWest, East London, Leaside, London Central, London General, London Northern, London United, Metroline, Selkent and South London — to four management/employee buyouts and four outside buyers.
There was high political drama from 1981 when the Labour-controlled Greater London Council cut fares, then fell foul of the courts and had to raise them again, leading the Conservative government to bring London Transport back into state ownership in 1984 and start opening up parts of the route network to competitive tender. For several years, it also raised the prospect of deregulating London’s buses.