United was one of four large National Bus Company (NBC) subsidiaries — along with Ribble, Crosville and London Country — split in 1986 for privatisation.

Thus was born Northumbria Motor Services, which existed for just 12 years, or as Steve Johnson puts it, 4,225 days of highs and lows.

This former bus company manager tells its story in great detail with input from those at the top providing fascinating insight. Northumbria chairman and commercial director Tony Kennan explains that they wanted to do things differently and recognised that it was all about people – customers and staff — and good communication.

Kennan and managing director David Monaghan were both from United and had wanted to buy its Scarborough operations, but transport secretary Nicholas Ridley decreed that these be added to East Yorkshire to make that business more attractive to buyers. They settled instead for the area north of the Tyne.

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