SOE Events

A light-hearted look at the British bus industry

Brian Ridley gave the centre’s November presentation titled ‘A light-hearted look at the British bus industry’. Brian initially told of his early career, joining Plaxton’s in 1980 as an apprentice, moving to Marshall's, Duple and others before leaving buses in 2001.

He then gave an outline of the beginnings of many of the bus makers and when they commenced building buses, these included Dennis who started in 1895 making bicycles before starting bus production in 1903. Before moving on to the effect of the deregulation of all coach services exceeding 30 miles in 1980 and later the bus sector.

Brian then gave details of the mergers, take-overs and collapses of the UK bus makers up to the present day. The only independent survivor, who started building buses in 1946, is Wrightbus of Ballymena in Northern Ireland, and in August 2012 they secured a £41m order to supply buses to Singapore. Other British bus industry survivors are Alexander’s who are now merged with Dennis, and Leyland who live on in India where Ashok Leyland is the second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the country, selling over 60,000 vehicles annually.

The centre would like to thank Brian for his interesting and informative talk.

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