Eastern Scottish - History - Deregulation


In preparation for deregulation in 1986, and eventual privatisation, the Scottish Bus Group was reorganised in 1985. The Scottish Omnibuses operations from Berwick, Dunbar, Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, North Berwick and Peebles depots passed to a new company, Lowland Scottish Omnibuses Ltd., whilst Airdrie (Clarkston) depot was passed to Central Scottish Omnibuses Ltd., Linlithgow depot passed to Midland Scottish Omnibuses Ltd., and Baillieston depot was closed (its vehicles and operations being transferred briefly to the Stepps depot of Midland Scottish, pending further reorganisation to create Kelvin Scottish Omnibuses Ltd.). The licenses for express coach services passed to the new Scottish Citylink Coaches Ltd., and Marine Works passed to another new SBG subsidiary company, SBG Engineering Ltd. The remnant of Scottish Omnibuses, comprising the core of the former company's territory in the Lothians area, with the depots at Bathgate, Dalkeith, Edinburgh, Livingston and Musselburgh, was renamed Eastern Scottish Omnibuses Ltd. Eastern Scottish retained the traditional green and cream livery for its fleet.

Upon deregulation, Eastern Scottish faced little to no competition outside Edinburgh, despite a highly urbanised operating area. Within Edinburgh, Eastern found itself sparring with the larger, dominant city operator, Lothian Regional Transport (LRT), for a larger share of the city traffic. In late 1986 Eastern introduced nine new routes within Edinburgh, some of which closely mirrored sections of existing LRT routes. These were numbered C1-C9 and the buses carried "City Sprinter" fleetnames. Route C5 also ran a slightly different route badged as C55. Some routes were operated by a fleet of 70 Dodge minibuses, whilst others used double deck buses, notably 25 secondhand ex-South Yorkshire Transport Volvo Ailsa B55 with Irish-built Van Hool-McArdle bodywork. Some of these routes only lasted for a short period.

LRT retaliated by extending services beyond the city boundary and deeper into Eastern's operating area. Together with the loyalty of the passengers to the familiar "madder" coloured fleet of the "corporation" (as LRT was still sometimes known), LRT's competitive tactics ensured that Eastern made no significant inroads to the city market. Despite competition between the two operators, bitter "bus wars" that broke out in other cities and towns across Scotland were largely avoided, and Eastern did not persevere with loss-making operations, but settled for economy by reducing use of St.Andrew Square Bus Station by running through the Edinburgh city centre to Charlotte Square, Haymarket and Silverknowes, and connecting traditional routes to Balerno and Wallyford end-to end (ironically adopting the LRT Route No.44).

Read more about this topic:  Eastern Scottish, History

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