Hold Tight! - The NBC
Chapter 5
Page 30
Hold Tight!
Chapter 5
28 A new start
29 Bus station
30 The NBC
31 Renumbering
32 Europe à la carte
33 Favourite places
34 Touring
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
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In 1968 the Labour government under transport minister Barbara Castle set up the National Bus Company to run the state owned bus companies, by then most of the non-municipal operators, in England and Wales. One of the results of this was the merger of Hants & Dorset and Wilts & Dorset under the Hants & Dorset name. The Gosport and Fareham Provincial company also came under Hants & Dorset's control but for legal reasons retained the name Provincial.
The combined Hants & Dorset fleet was renumbered and painted in NBC poppy red, although one Daimler based at Southampton and used on route 54 to West End was initially painted in apple green and Southampton took delivery of a couple of green Leyland Nationals diverted from London Country. The buses lost their old fleet number plates and were given new stick-on numbers with coloured discs to denote the garage.
Provincial buses acquired the NBC apple green livery. The tours department was merged with Shamrock & Rambler and handed over to National Travel.
NBC lapel badge.
P232CTV Wilts & Dorset on service X7 to Salisbury in Castle Way, Southampton 12 December 2000.
Under a Conservative government the NBC was broken up, then privatised. Just before this, from 1983 the bus services of Hants & Dorset were split into Wilts & Dorset in the south and west, Provincial in the Gosport and Fareham area and Hampshirebus for the remainder. Shamrock & Rambler, which had become part of National Travel, was taken back and the engineering department was set up as a separate company.
Hampshirebus went to Stagecoach in April 1987. Wilts & Dorset was sold as a private concern which in August 2003 was bought by Go Ahead. Provincial was sold to its management and staff who sold it to the First Group in October 1995.
In 1986 Southern Vectis set up a subsidiary company called Musterphantom trading as Solent Blue Line in direct competition for the Southampton area routes. Southampton Citybus responded with increased frequencies including the use of ex London Transport Routemasters with conductors. As a result, Hampshirebus pulled out of Southampton in October 1987 leaving Solent Blueline with the former Hants & Dorset routes in Southampton, Eastleigh and the Waterside.
Shamrock & Rambler and Hants & Dorset Engineering were also sold and, with all the component companies gone, Hants & Dorset was wound up.
F708SDL Solent Blueline 708 on route 47 from Southampton arriving in Winchester Bus Station 1 September 2003.
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