Title: The Region’s Favourite
Authors: Neil Hudson, Gary Nolan, Darren Sentance
Publisher: The Omnibus Society
Specification: 305mm x 215mm, 260pp, hardback
Of all the former passenger transport executive (PTE) bus operations transferred to an arm’s length company at deregulation in October 1986, South Yorkshire’s faced arguably the most traumatic change.
The self-styled “people’s republic” had boosted public transport ridership and suppressed car use by heavily subsidising cheap fares. As this book by three former insiders at the company reminds us, fares were pegged at the level that applied in Doncaster in 1973. Double-digit inflation would have required them to more than quadruple by 1986 from a starting price of just 2p on many routes. There also were some free town and city centre services.
In anticipation of further growth, the PTE had invested in high-capacity vehicles, including the UK’s first bendybuses, and in expanded garage facilities, the flagship of which was a new 160-vehicle building opened in Rotherham in 1982. It leased rather than owned most of its buses and had acquired most of the independent operators serving Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham.