The contrasting influences of a pre-deregulation general manager and his immediate successor as managing director were highly apparent on the streets of east Lancashire in the mid-and late-1980s
Ex-London Transport Routemasters had recently joined the Burnley &Pendle fleet when Iain MacGregor visited east Lancashire in September 1988.
The council-owned company bought five earlier that year to respond to competition generated by deregulation in October 1986. Its then managing director, Keith Ludeman, hails from Bromley on the outer edges of London Transport’s red bus territory and branded them as EastEnders in the font used by the BBC television drama from its launch three years earlier. Each had a name from the London soap: Wicksy, Dirty Den and Dot Cotton after characters, Albert Square and Queen Vic after locations.
They were sold in 1992, by which time Ludeman was MD of London General with many more Routemasters in his care. He led a buyout from London Buses and subsequent sale to Go-Ahead Group where he was chief executive from 2006 to 2011.