September will mark four decades since the inception of Metrobus. MARK LYONS recounts the operator’s history as it moves into a new hydrogen era

Metrobus began operations on September 24, 1983. Its initial fleet included Duple-bodied AEC Reliance JTM109V seen in Croydon. This bus is now preserved in Metrobus livery.

This year marks 40 years since Metrobus began operations. Its origins lie in the collapse, in February 1981, of Orpington & District, which had provided a number of routes linking Croydon and Orpington with housing developments which, despite being within Greater London, were not served by London Transport. The long established, but now defunct, Cranleigh based Tillingbourne Bus Company set up a new subsidiary, Tillingbourne (Metropolitan) Ltd in order to take over Orpington & District’s services.

In 1983, two of the directors of Tillingbourne (Metropolitan), Peter Larking and Gary Wood, bought the operation from its parent company. On September 24, 1983, Metrobus began operations. Buses carried a blue and yellow livery based on that of Tillingbourne.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers