Buses in the Border Towns of London Country 1969-2019 (South of the Thames) (Hardback)
London Transport was created in 1933 with monopoly powers. Not only did it have exclusive rights to run bus (and tram and trolleybus) services in the Greater London area, it also ran services in a Country Area all around London. Green Line express services linked the country towns to London and in most cases across to other country towns the other side of the metropolis. This country area extended north as far as Hitchin, east to Brentwood, south to Crawley and west to Windsor.
But what of the towns at the edge of the country area? Here the green London Transport buses would meet the bus companies whose operations extended across the rest of the counties of Berkshire, Surrey, Kent etc. In some cases the town was at a node where more than one company worked in. Elsewhere, such as at Guildford there were local independent operators who had a share in the town services.
It would all change from 1970 when the London Transport Country Area was transferred to the National Bus Company to form a new company named London Country Bus Services. This would later be split into four separate companies. Deregulation in 1985 and privatisation in the 1990s led to further changes in the names and ownership of bus companies. Consolidation since then has seen the emergence of national bus groups – Stagecoach, First Group, Arriva and Go-Ahead replacing the old names and liveries. But retrenchment by these companies has given an opportunity for new independent companies to fill the gaps.
This book takes the form of an anti-clockwise tour around the perimeter of the London Country area, south of the Thames featuring a number of key towns starting at Slough and Windsor and ending at Gravesend, illustrating some of the many changes to bus companies that have occurred.