Safeguard Coaches - History

History

Safeguard was set up in 1924 by Arthur Newman, when he converted an accident damaged lorry to carry passengers, and by 1927 was running bus services to the newly constructed Aldershot Road housing estate. Shortly afterwards, another service to Onslow Village was started.

However, the main company in the area Aldershot & District Traction challenged Safeguard with six months of competition. After this, the two companies agreed that Safeguard would run the Woodside and Onslow routes, and both companies the Guildford Park service.

In time, Safeguard extended the Woodside route to Westborough and then to Park Barn, and the Guildford Park service reached Dennisville.

In 1988, Farnham Coaches was purchased, adding a significant number of vehicles to the Safeguard fleet.

In 2000, Safeguard gained the contract for the Guildford Shuttle, a free service connecting various parts of Guildford Town Centre. At first, a Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer Mini Pointer Dart was acquired, but the council wanted to use an Optare Alero, one of which arrived delayed later. However, this proved too small and so another Mini Pointer Dart was acquired.

More recently, in 2002, Safeguard lost some school bus work and Onslow routes 10/11 to Countryliner after ten years. As a result of this, the bus fleet was cut from ten to seven vehicles.

The Guildford Shuttle was withdrawn in August 2008, the council saying it was costing too much to operate. There had been fierce campaigns to keep it going before it stopped and since then, more protests to re-instate it. The local Liberal Democrats have been behind the campaigns. One 91-year old man stayed on the bus for a whole day non-stop and surveyed users of the service. A decision to replace the service with an advance booking "dial-a-ride" services have been met with resistance, users claiming it is "inflexible" and that "people don’t know days in advance when they will want to go somewhere and when they want to be picked up". Campaigners also reject the idea that there are commercial bus services that provide a replacement, as around half the route is on roads unserved by other buses. From January 2009, Safeguard reintroduced the service commercially, but it was withdrawn for a final time in May 2010.

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