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Weybus of Weymouth

by Steve Oxbrow


weybus travel pass


Please note - this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information


Weybus of Weymouth was a bus operation which competed with Southern National in Weymouth from 1995 to 1998. The company had its origins back in the early 1980’s when Nigel Charlton started Weybus from his Portland home, starting as a coach operation running at least two coaches, MYG 759K and VKG 929J.  By bus deregulation in 1986 they were operating summer seasonal services in Weymouth, in competition with Southern National. These were separate from his main coach business and were owned by a company called Anglewish Ltd. Services were run by the limited company from October 1988 to January 1990, but from that date services were operated under the unincorporated Weybus name. One bus which passed from Anglewish to Weybus in May 1990 was D202 KWT, a Freight Rover Sherpa/Dormobile which was ex Somerbus of Paulton but new to West Riding. This bus stayed with Weybus, later moving to Wessex Bus where it ran until July 2001.

In 1995 the company was operating A495/6 TSU Renault S46, A35 SNS Renault Master, BLJ 303T Ford Transit, D202 KWT Freight Rover Sherpa/Dormobile, D463/70/72 CKV Freight Rover Sherpa/Rootes and EPE 934V Ford A Series/Caetano. In October 1994 D63 OKG, D387 OOX, E101 OUH and F234 BAX, all Freight Rover Sherpa/Carlyle were purchased from Red and White.

1995 saw the introduction of competitive bus services in Weymouth, against Southern National. The 1995 timetable booklet contained these services::

1: Kings Statue – Radipole Village – Kings Statue – Preston - Kings Statue.

             Monday to Sunday. Every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday. Hourly on Sundays

2: Kings Statue – Hereford Road

             Monday to Friday, every 15 minutes. Also operated Saturdays every 15 minutes until 1300 hours

3: Kings Statue – Dorchester Road – Littlemoor.

            Monday to Saturday, some journeys via Brackendown Avenue and Chalbury Corner

4: Kings Statue – Wyke Regis – Kings Statue. Some journeys operated via Lanehouse Church and Budmouth School.

            Mondays to Saturdays, every 30 minutes

5: Kings Statue – Chickerell – Kings Statue.

            Monday to Saturday, every 20 minutes. Hourly on Sundays

6: Kings Statue – Downclose Estate – Kings Statue. Some journeys via Wyke Smugglers all journeys operated inward via Boot Hill.

            Monday to Saturday, every 30 minutes

7: Kings Statue – Radipole Village – Kings Statue – Wyke Smugglers – Kings Statue.

            Monday to Saturday evenings, hourly between Kings Statue- Radipole but half hourly from Wyke Smugglers to Kings Statue.

8: Kings Statue – Littlemoor – Kings Statue – Chickerell – Kings Statue.

            Monday to Sunday evenings. Hourly.

9: Kings Statue – Bowleaze Cove – Preston Seaview - Kings Statue.

            Every 30 minutes, Monday to Sunday evenings.

10: Littlesea Haven – Wyke Smugglers – Kings Statue – Bowleaze Cove – Kings Statue – Wyke Smugglers – Littlesea Haven.

            Monday to Sunday, every 30 minutes, daytimes.

However what was actually operated during the summer of 1995 was a little different, and it may not be uncharitable to describe the timetable booklet as largely a work of fiction!  Service 1 started eventually in June but only ever ran over the Weymouth Kings Statue - Preston section; whereas service 4 had ceased by the end of June, as did service 6.  Service 7 is thought to never have started, nor it is thought did service 9.  Service 10 only operated over the Kings Statue - Bowleaze Cove part of the intended route.  At one time it was proposed to operate an open-top Routemaster on this summer service, but Weybus were refused an operators licence for double-deck vehicles as their depot was not suited to maintain them.

As could be expected the response was swift from Southern National. ‘Chasers’ appeared along the Littlemoor route to take passengers from Weybus. Buses ran in convoys of three or four, all with the current fares taped to the windows. Fares plummeted. Reports came in of fights breaking out between drivers, buses jostled for space on the Kings Statue. Things got worse when Weybus started to operate on the main Weymouth - Portland route. Southern National were blocking in Weybus vehicles. Matters could not have been made any easier by Smiths Coaches of Portland, by now an independent company, increasing their frequency on the route. It was common for three buses, one from Southern National, another from Weybus and another from Smiths to all leave in convoy for Portland. No sooner than three left the stand, another three arrived, one from each operator.


fares war poster

Fares wars  -  notice in bus window

Things became so bad operationally that Southern National and Weybus were called before the Traffic Commissioners on 3rd April 1996. The outcome of this was that Southern National was prohibited from operating Service 1 to Portland and Service F to Wyke Regis Village from 1st June for one year, and were also prevented from registering new services for six months. Weybus was also banned for registering services for six months but were able to continue their Portland route. So it appeared that Weybus were the victors on the Portland service – but as is possible under the current transport legislation, another Cawlett subsidiary West Dorset Coaches registered the Weymouth-Portland and Weymouth-Wyke Regis services under the new name of Dorset Transit. So, things continued much as usual. Dorset Transit was based at Southern National’s Weymouth depot, though with a separate office, and operated Service 1 to Portland as well as Service 2 to Wyke Regis. In June 1998 service 8 to Chickerell was started. However Southern National continued to provide the open top service 501 to Portland Bill.

roadside timetable


Roadside timetable for the Weymouth - Dorchester route


Weybus ran the following services for 1996, with the many and frequent changes to their routes and services, it can be difficult to establish the exact pattern of service at any one time!

1: Kings Statue – Wyke Regis – Portland - Wyke Regis – Kings Statue. Monday to Saturday, every 7 minutes.

2: Kings Statue – Hereford Road - Kings Statue Monday to Saturday every 15 minutes.

3: Kings Statue - Littlemoor - Kings Statue. Monday to Saturday, every 15 minutes, Sunday every 20 minutes (AM), 30 minutes (PM)

4: Kings Statue – Wyke Regis – Lanehouse – Wyke Regis – Kings Statue. Every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday

5: Kings Statue – Chickerell – Kings Statue. Every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday, hourly Sundays.

6: Kings Statue – Portesham – Abbotsbury – Portesham – Kings Statue. Monday to Saturday 7 journeys, Sunday 7 journeys in summer.

8: Kings Statue – Chickerell – Kings Statue – Littlemoor. Monday to Sunday evenings. Hourly

9: Weymouth – Dorchester – Weymouth. Monday to Saturday hourly. It is worth noting that Southern National service 10 was every 2 hours as was the 31. So this service provided a better frequency. Subsequently the service was increased to half-hourly then every 20 minutes.

E251ACC in Dorchester

Iveco 49-10/Robin Hood E251 ACC is seen here in Dorchester Trinity Street whilst operating service 9.
(photo courtesy of Dorset County Council, Passenger Transport Group)

To cope with increased passenger loadings on service 3 to Littlemoor, three Renault S56/Northern Counties were purchased. F336/8/9 VEF came from Cleveland Transit and were supplied by Houston Ramm of Rochdale. The company did not like them and consequently all 25 seat buses were Iveco 49-10’s. In January 1997 E155 UKR was purchased, and was used for much of its time with Weybus on the Littlemoor service, with driver Derek Gifford.

E155UKR

E155 UKR is seen here with its next owner after Weybus, Countywide Travel of Basingstoke.
The bus had been withdrawn with them since December 1999, and is seen here in August 2001.

E251ACC

E251 ACC is seen here in August 2001, after withdrawal from use by Countywide Travel of Basingstoke.
The bus had been in use with them until February 2000, both having been bought from the receivers in August 1998
.

For the summer season in 1997, Weybus provided the following services:

1: Weymouth – Portland- Weymouth. Monday to Saturday, every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes Sundays.

2: Weymouth – Hereford Road- Weymouth. Monday to Saturday, every 15 minutes.

3: Weymouth – Littlemoor – Weymouth. Monday to Thursday every 10 minutes, then a frequent service until 1651, then every 10 minutes. Evening service every 30 minutes. The timetable says the service runs Monday to Thursday, but I can recall buses working Friday and Saturday as well. Fri/Sat evenings saw a 20 minute service, Sundays a 30 minute service.

4: Weymouth – Westham - Chickerell - Westham – Weymouth. Sundays only, every hour

Kings Statue - Waterside – Kings Statue, daily, every 15 minutes (after July), every 30 before July. Summer only

6: Weymouth – Portesham – Abbotsbury – Portesham – Weymouth. Monday to Sunday, hourly in summer. In winter 3 journeys, Monday to Saturday only.

9: Weymouth – Dorchester – Weymouth. Monday to Saturday Every 30 minutes. The route was diverted to run into the then new County Hospital. On Sunday an hourly service was provided. It’s interesting to see that in March 2002 Southern National provided a Sunday service on route 10, with council subsidy. After the demise of Weybus, Service 31 was operating on Sundays a few months later.

The Preston route was withdrawn halfway through the summer season, in July.

weybus tickets

1997 saw the purchase of a number of Iveco 49-10’s from Houston Ramm, E207 HRY came in May, E205 HRY came in July, both were ex Midland Fox, E201/4 EPB came in November but neither ever entered service. 201 was used for spares, though initially there must have been an intention to prepare it for service. E204 EPB was stripped down and awaited painting. It was never repainted and passed, with 205/7 and 201 to Wessex Bus. 204 entered service in July 1999 and ran with them until September 2001.

E204EPB
E207HRY
Seen here on a lovely day in November 2000 is E204 EPB,
in use with Wessex Bus.

E207 HRY was one of a pair of ex Midland Fox Iveco minibuses purchased
during 1997; it is seen here turning into Dorset County Hospital
(photo courtesy of Dorset County Council, Passenger Transport Group)

E205HRY

E205 HRY is seen here in August 1997 a month after acquisition working the Littlemoor service

D244OOJ

Seen here on 31st May 1997 whilst resting in between a shift on the Portland route is Freight Rover Sherpa D244 OOJ

At the same time as the Preston route was being withdrawn, Weybus lost the contract to run the Springfield Road route, numbered 8, but previously known as route M. Southern National provided a service on the route, as part of service 4 to Upwey.

The new County Hospital meant additional contract work for Weybus, a Park and Ride from the Football Ground in Dorchester to County Hospital.

The tide turned for the worse in 1998: Weybus ran the following services by June.

1: Weymouth – Dorchester – Weymouth.

          Monday to Saturday, every 20 minutes, first bus 0520 (probably a positioning journey for the Park and Ride in Dorchester), last bus out was 2130.
          Sundays and Bank Holidays saw an hourly service, first bus 0655, last bus 1950.

          In mid July – from the 22nd the 0520 was taken off and the first bus departed Kings Statue at 0645. The last bus left at 1800.
          Sunday service was hourly 0700-1800.

3: Weymouth – Littlemoor – Weymouth.

          Monday to Friday, every 15 minutes daytime, Saturday and Sunday (re-introduced from June) every 20 minutes.

5: Weymouth – Chickerell – Weymouth. Monday to Saturday.

          Every 20 minutes. In June, Dorset Transit started service 8 at exactly the same times which caused Weybus to withdraw their service.

6: Weymouth – Abbotsbury – Weymouth. Monday to Sunday (from May).

          Hourly. (Extended as route number 5 to operate Weymouth-Abbotsbury-Bridport for a few weeks in June and July). Southern National ran a
          service there during the summer but Weybus had a loyal following on this route, such that when Weybus ceased trading Wessex Bus provided their
          service less than a month later, under short notice.  The Wessex Bus operation still continues in 2002.

Kings Statue- Waterside Holiday Park. Monday to Sunday.

           Every 15 minutes until 1915 (though it was every half hour until end of July).


E155UKR at Kings Statue, Weymouth
E155 UKR awaiting departure for Littlemoor at Kings Statue, Weymouth (photo courtesy Henry Frier)

As mentioned, the tide had turned for Weybus. They were called to another public inquiry on 27th February 1998 to answer allegations that a driver had been driving buses without a PCV licence.  The company strenuously denied this, and the people involved with running the company continue to do so. The Traffic Commissioner also stated that for two weeks in August 1997 bus monitors had watched bus services in Weymouth and Portland and Weybus had not run in accordance with their Portland timetable, whereas Dorset Transit and Smiths had performed better.  Nevertheless, the Western Traffic Commissioner ordered that Weybus’ operator licence be revoked, and additionally the company was banned from operating service 1 to Portland almost immediately. The effect of the licence revocation decision was postponed to allow time for an appeal.

Worse was to come, Smiths had registered their Portland route to extend to Littlemoor, and Dorchester Coachways had registered, from 3rd August, journeys on service 10 from Dorchester to Weymouth on top of Weybus departures. It appeared that Southern National were pursuing the ‘flood the route with buses strategy’ which was for them, paying off - though I doubt little money was being made. The registration of Dorchester Coachways service to and from Weymouth meant every Weybus route was flooded with Southern National, or their associate’s buses.

Weybus had appealed to the transport tribunal against revocation of their operator licence. A few days before the company ceased to trade, it was announced that the tribunal had upheld the Traffic Commissioners decision. The Company maintained that the allegations of an unlicensed PCV Driver driving one of their vehicles were totally unfounded, but the Transport Tribunal stated ‘If this was the case, it revealed a very serious lack of control’.

Although reported at the time as carrying 10,000 passengers a week in the area, on Thursday, July 30th 1998, receivers were appointed at Weybus of Weymouth and 20 staff were immediately made redundant. For some of the fleet it would have been the last time they ever saw PCV use, whilst others were to be dispersed for new lives. Former driver Tony Douglass applied for an operators licence, trading as Wessex Bus, and they continue to operate the former Weybus school contracts, plus the Weymouth to Abbotsbury service. The residents of Abbotsbury petitioned the council for a service, and Wessex Bus’ Abbotsbury route started on 24th August 1998, using E205 HRY. Other buses purchased from the receivers were E207 HRY, F949 CUA, D463/72 CKV, D202 KWT, E654 DGW, G369 CLJ, BLJ 303T, E201 EPB and E204 EPB.

Wessex Bus are to withdraw from regular bus service operation to concentrate on contract work from the end of August 2004.

Meanwhile in August 2002 competition returned to the main Portland to Weymouth and Dorchester route - which had featured so prominently in the Weybus network - with the start up of operations by Sureline - but that's another story ...........


List of buses in use at the end of Weybus operations

Fleet No

Reg No

Chassis

Body

Seating

Last Owner

78 (8) D78 TLV Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle B20F RDH Services, Plumpton 2/96
120 (12) E120 RAX Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 120 7/95
124 (16) E124 RAX Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 124 4/95
139 E139 RAX Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 139 4/95
155 E155 UKR Iveco 49-10 Robin Hood B25F East Kent 55 1/97
199 D199 NON Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle B20F RDH Services, Plumpton 2/96
200 (20) F200 YKG Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 200 4/95
202 D202 KWT Freight Rover Sherpa Dormobile B16F Anglewish, Portland 5/90
203 F203 YKG Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 203 7/95
205 E205 HRY Iveco 49-10 Carlyle 2 B25F Midland Fox M205 7/97
206 F206 YKG Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 206 10/95
207 E207 HRY Iveco 49-10 Carlyle 2 B25F Midland Fox M207 5/97
234 F234 BAX Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Red and White 234 10/94
244 (17) D244 OOJ Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle B20F RDH Services, Plumpton 2/96
251 (21) E251 ACC Iveco 49-10 Robin Hood B21F Watts, Dorchester 3/96
303 BLJ 303T Ford Transit   M7 Dorset County Council 8/92
463 (4) D463 CKV Freight Rover Sherpa Rootes B16F Red and White 77 8/93
472 D472 CKV Freight Rover Sherpa Rootes B16F Red and White 80 8/93
654 E654 DGW Freight Rover Sherpa Crystals M16 Keech, Rousdon 6/97
949 (9) F949 CUA Freight Rover Sherpa Carlyle 2 B20F Yorkshire Rider 1949 3/94

Notes:

Numbers in brackets refer to the previous fleet number on the bus. Weybus used these number initially but by the arrival of E155 UKR, E205/7 HRY buses were referred to by the registration numbers (as shown in the table) Where known, the old fleet numbers are included for reference.

All buses were red and white with grey stripe, with the exceptions of:

D199 NON, cream and maroon with grey stripe, with advertising for Waterside Holiday Park. For 1997, this bus was the dedicated bus on the Waterside route, for 1998 it operated to/from Dorchester.

F200/203/6 YKG, F234 BAX. These were blue and orange, advertising Waterside Holiday Park. F234 BAX was the regular bus on Waterside that summer, and may have been the last scheduled departure at 1945. F206 YKG was allover red previously, advertising the go-kart track at Bowleaze Cove.

Other buses owned but not in use

E101 OUH

Freight Rover Sherpa

Carlyle 2

B20F

Red and White 101 10/94

Cannibalised, but was operated from 1994 to 1997

E201 EPB

Iveco 49-10

Robin Hood

B23F

Stagecoach South 477 11/97

Cannibalised, scrapped 12/98

E204 EPB

Iveco 49-10

Robin Hood

B23F

Stagecoach South 480 11/97

Sold with 201 to Wessex Bus, entered service 7/99

E174 TWO

Freight Rover Sherpa

Carlyle 2

B20F

Swanage Taxis 9/97

Scrapped

G369 CLJ

Leyland DAF 400

 

M16

Dorset Police 1998

Sold to Wessex Bus used from 7/99 onwards

Prior to cessation of operations Ford/Plaxton Supreme C53F WUG 532X had been sold to Cudlipp, Henstridge and D63 OKG Sherpa/Carlyle had been scrapped.

1995 weybus timetable booklet
F949CUA

F949 CUA seen in November 2000 taking a break from
operating the Wessex Bus Westfield School Contract

D199NON

D199 NON in October 2000 in a decaying state. Behind are the remains
of E207 HRY, whilst the body of sister E205 HRY is in the background.

F203YKG in July 1999
Cover of the 1995 timetable booklet - complete with a Routemaster!
One wonders about what might have come about ...........

F203 YKG is seen here in July 1999



I would like to thank Rory Weaver, for a copy of the first Weybus timetable and some anecdotal stories; Ron Mesure for providing basic fleet information; Nigel Charlton, who on a number of occasions allowed access to the yard; Tony Douglass for much information provided at the time of Weybus and afterwards; Simon Nicholas for providing copies of the Dorset Evening Echo front page dated 31/7/98, and a copy of the article in Transit 18/9/96; and Barry Thirlwall at Dorset County Council, Passenger Transport Group, for allowing use of  the photographs of E251 ACC taken in Dorchester also E207 HRY.  Grateful thanks also to Henry Frier for additional information, photographs and ticket illustrations.


DORSET (RURAL)
DORSET (URBAN)
SOMERSET
WILTSHIRE
HAMPSHIRE
FAROE ISLANDS
NORMANDIE
ISLE OF SKYE
LINKS
LINCOLNSHIRE