Yellow Buses are helping to drive official new awards which celebrate excellence in companies that make Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch a great place to visit, live and work.
The Bournemouth-based bus company is playing a leading role as headline sponsors for the Destination Awards, a new showcase for the great work being done in our part of the South Coast to make it a wonderful place for tourists and residents alike.
David Squire, Managing Director of Yellow Buses, now wholly locally owned after a recent management buyout, said: “Yellow Buses and the Destination Awards are the perfect fit and we are very pleased to be involved.
“The Destination Awards are promoting local businesses and we have become a truly local business, employing 400 people and contributing to the local economy.”
“At the time we were approached about sponsorship we knew about our management buyout although it was still under wraps – so we thought it would be an ideal partnership.
“We’re part of the fabric of the town so it’s an obvious match for us. A lot of the businesses at the launch event at the Marsham Court Hotel were companies we already interact with – and we carry a lot of visitors to and from their hotels to all the tourism destinations.”
Yellow Buses have signed up to be the Destination Awards’ headline sponsor for the next three years. Plans include a Destination Awards themed bus to travel around the town alongside others with poetry, history and wildlife themes.
James Dixon-Box, owner of dbox events, won a competitive tender to organise and deliver the awards earlier this year. The awards have been set up by the new Destination Management Board, which looks after tourism for the new Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BCP) Council.
James said: “We are excited to be working with Yellow Buses, along with sponsors Expectations Travel and the Marsham Court Hotel, to shine a spotlight on the fantastic work being done to make this a premier tourism destination.”
Applications are now open for the awards. There are 14 award categories, including Attraction of the Year, Large Hotel of the Year and a Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable Tourism award.
Following a comprehensive judging process, including ‘mystery shoppers’, the awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at the BIC in March 2020.
For information on how to enter visit http://www.destinationawards.co.uk.
Yellow Buses is back under local ownership after being acquired by its management team for an undisclosed sum.
David Squire, Managing Director; Simon Newport, Commercial Director and Phil Pannell, Service Delivery Director, are now equal shareholders in Bournemouth Transport Limited (BTL).
The trio are lifelong busmen with more than 100 years of experience between them.
BTL trades under the names Yellow Buses and Yellow Coaches. Also included in the sale is Vintage Yellow Buses Limited, an associated non-trading company.
The management buyout (MBO) follows a decision by French-owned RATP Dev to review its operations in the UK.
In future, the company, which acquired BTL in 2010, will focus on its franchise operations in London as well as sightseeing and coach businesses in Bath, London and the North West.
David Squire, who was appointed as Managing Director of Yellow Buses in 2017, said: “This puts the local management team firmly in the driving seat. We are now masters of our own destiny.
“We remain as BTL and there are no changes to the terms and conditions of our employees or pension schemes. We have injected fresh capital into the company and will be looking to invest in our staff, fleet and systems going forward.
“We are over 18 months into the plan that we started in 2018 and are in a strong place with passenger growth, improved income and a booming coach operation.
“As an independent company we will be quicker, more agile at decision-making and, therefore, better able to react to opportunities as they arise.”
Yellow Buses operates a fleet of 140 buses and 16 coaches with more than 410 staff.
The company carries just under 15m passengers a year with its vehicles operating nearly five million miles across the Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset area.
Laurence Batlle, RATP Dev’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Under the leadership of David Squire and his team, Bournemouth Transport has undergone major transformation.
“The agreement will ensure the company has local ownership and management. We are delighted that we can enable Bournemouth Transport Ltd and its employees to pursue a promising way forward and wish them every success.”
RATP Dev UK was advised by Osborne Clark in London while the MBO team worked with Backhouse Jones, specialist transport solicitors, together with Moore and Smalley and Weightmans for legal and financial due diligence.
Still regarded with affection by many, the electric trolleybuses replaced Bournemouth’s former tramway system in 1933 and ran for 36 years.
They followed a network of electrically-charged overhead lines suspended above the road. The silent and emission-free trolleybuses were popular with holidaymakers and residents alike. At their height, the trolleybus network extended to 29 miles and was served by 127 vehicles. In the year ending March 1937, the trolleybuses carried 26.3 million passengers. Ten years later the figure had risen to 42.7 million.
The trolleybus era came to an end in 1969 with a closure procession and civic ceremony marking the last day of scheduled services on Saturday April 19. In their place came diesel buses. Yellow Buses has now updated its ‘history bus’ as a tribute to the trolleybuses. The ADL E200 single decker contains display panels with archive pictures tracking the proud 117-year history of Bournemouth Transport. But now external vinyls have been added with old time film spools showing electric trolleybuses in action from 1933 to 1969.
Yellow Buses also welcomed former driver Keith Burbidge to its Yeomans Way depot in Bournemouth. Keith and his wife, Carol, have built their own mini-trolleybus, based on a reconditioned mobile scooter, as a tribute to what many still regard as Bournemouth’s favourite mode of transport. The replica is accurate down to the last detail, including a scaled-down driver’s tea flask on the dashboard.
David Squire, Yellow Buses’ Managing Director, said: “We’ve proudly served the people of Bournemouth, and beyond, for 117 years but, without doubt, the trolleybus era was one of our finest periods. “It’s amazing how even 50 years on so many people remember the trolleybuses with genuine affection. The ‘history bus’ is our tribute to what has gone down as one of the finest chapters in our long and proud history.”
During his visit to Yeomans Way, former driver Keith also brought along original tickets from the last day of trolleybus services. He said: “We’ll be using our trolleybus to promote, and raise funds, for the Bournemouth Vintage Bus Rally in June. Both Carol and I travelled on the last trolleybus and this is our tribute to that time.”
FOR the 15th year in a row Yellow Buses turned pink to raise money and awareness for charity.
Drivers, engineers and administration staff swapped their uniforms and overalls for garish garments.
Even new managing director David Squire joined in by donning a pink wig.
Other items on display included onesies, leggings, shirts, hats, blazers and coats. They made Yellow Buses even brighter than usual.
The 15 years of fundraising by the Bournemouth-based firm has raised thousands of pounds for good causes.
This year the money went to the Wear It Pink charity.
Fiona Harwood, Marketing Sales Manager, said: “Drivers had collection tins on their buses and the passengers were as generous as always.
“Our staff went to town and got on board with the whole pink theme.
“As well as raising money we hope to have raised some awareness about the charity.
“Yellow Buses is well known for the support we give to a variety of local charities and we have a number of themed days throughout the year.”
Stand by your bus stops. Yellow Buses’ iconic open toppers are back this month after a ten-year gap, operating on two routes.
The Bournemouth-based bus company will start operating a new R2 open top service between Bournemouth and Poole Quay.
Yellow Buses is also introducing an hourly C1 open top service linking Bournemouth and Alum Chine via Westbourne and West Cliff.
The Poole quay service will run every half hour daily, including public holidays, from Saturday July 22 until Wednesday August 30.
The first bus leaves Bournemouth Square at 9.20am (9.35am from Poole Quay) and follows a route including Westbourne, Branksome, Upper Parkstone, Ashley Cross, Poole Hospital, Poole High Street and Poole Quay.
The journey will take 40 minutes with the last bus departing Bournemouth Square at 5.20pm (5.35pm from Poole Quay).
The Alum Chine service will also operate daily, including public holidays, from Saturday July 22 but end on Sunday September 3.
The first bus from Bournemouth (Bourne Avenue) is at 7.24am Monday to Friday (7.45am from Alum Chine). The journey will take 20 minutes.
The new open top service is in addition to the existing C1 service operating between Castlepoint and Alum Chine.
As a result the Bournemouth to Alum Chine stretch of the route will see two buses per hour Mondays to Saturdays plus a Sunday service from July 22 until September 3.
Andrew Smith, Yellow Buses’ Managing Director, said: “We’ve had an amazing response since first announcing in May that our famous open toppers will be back on the streets for the first time since 2007.
“We’re delighted that not only are we able to bring the open top experience to two of our routes but also, as we promised, the C1 will operate at a higher frequency during the peak summer period.”
All day travel on Yellow Buses, including the open toppers, costs just £4 for an adult (£2.60 child). A group ticket covering five adults or children travelling together is £10.50.
Full details of the open topper services can be found at www.bybus.co.uk
A retired bus driver who built a miniature double decker got to meet the real thing when he took his vehicle to Yellow Buses’ depot in Bournemouth.
Keith Burbidge spun over to the Yeomans Way site and parked up next to an open-topper and one of the company’s brand new buses.
The model-maker made his little Yellow Bus from a mobility scooter and based it on a 1950s’ Leyland double decker.
Inside are two genuine bus seats and he and his wife Carol often travel together near to their Southbourne home litter picking from it.
After fame of Keith’s dinky decker spread across the country, Yellow Buses invited him and his creation to the depot.
The 6ft long, 4ft high model bus in yellow livery attracted staff from the company like bees around a honey pot.
Keith, 75, a former potter and ex-bus driver, said: “It was amazing to drive among the big buses.
“Although when one was following me around the depot I was a little nervous because I don’t have any brake lights.
“I get a lot of people waving at me and it’s all a bit of a surprise as I only did it for a bit of fun.”
Fiona Harwood from Yellow Buses, who invited Keith along, said: “When we saw photos of Keith’s bus we had to invite him to the depot with his bus.
“It was very amusing to see it next to our buses and driving around them with Keith inside.
“We made him up some signage for the sides and wish him luck with whatever he does next.”
While the football season is now over Cherries’ Community Sport’s Trust will continue to drive safety lessons into schools with the help of Yellow Buses.
AFC Bournemouth’s partnership with the town’s brightest bus company has seen hundreds of local children benefit from the ‘Soccer Safety School’ over the last two seasons.
And it is continuing through the summer term and will kick off again in September and run the whole of next season.
Cherries’ ace Dan Gosling is the ‘player ambassador’ for the safety school that has been developed by Steve Cuss, the club’s Head of Community.
Steve said: “The safety school highlights the risks and dangers that children face when out playing.
“These involve road safety, which is something that Yellow Buses are experts in.
“The Soccer Safety School is designed to engage the children in a fun way – and in all departments!
“It’s been a hugely successful partnership with Yellow Buses and the children have really benefited.”
Dan Gosling said: “Being player ambassador for this project has been very rewarding and hopefully the safety lessons will stay with the children as they get older.
“All the players at Bournemouth started by kicking a ball around outside and we want youngsters today to have that same pleasure, but also to be aware of the dangers.”
Fiona Harwood, from Yellow Buses, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Cherries’ Community Sport’s Trust for a third season.
“The school children thoroughly enjoy it and they are also learning important lessons.”
For the first time in its 115-year history Yellow Buses has a female driving instructor – and it wants more to follow her.
Sam Bowen joined the Bournemouth-based company a decade ago and later became a mentor for new drivers before applying to become an instructor.
Now she is helping to drive recruitment as Yellow Buses aims to put more female drivers on its fleet.
Following three weeks of intense training and studying for eight modules, Sam was awarded her NVQ diploma as a PCV Instructor.
Now she can be seen sitting behind her charges on the Yellows Buses’ learner vehicle, putting them through their paces.
Sam, who is married to Yellow Buses Traffic Manager Dave, said: “I saw the opportunity to train as an instructor and I applied.
“I don’t think being a woman makes a difference now. I spent three weeks training in Manchester and they really make you think about it.
“There are eight modules to pass, three of which are practical. It is a challenging job but I am enjoying it.
“To teach someone to drive a bus there is a five week programme and we are getting more and more female drivers.
“I would urge women to consider bus driving as a career; the hours can be convenient and you get to meet lots of people. I have really got a great deal out of it.”
Mike Conroy, Operations Manager, said: “Sam has got there on merit and we’re all very proud of her. It’s not an easy thing to pass and she’s worked very hard.
“The industry has traditionally been male-dominated but we’ve been recruiting female drivers for years.
“Now we are seeing them working up through the company which has always been our hope.
“There are lots of job opportunities at Yellow Buses and driving roles often suit mums because of the shift patterns.”
To be a bus instructor you must be over 21 years of age and have held a full unrestricted driving licence for at least three years in the category in which you wish to instruct.
You must also meet the stringent requirements for good health and vision that are required of anyone wishing to drive a large vehicle.
YELLOW Buses is to undergo the biggest transformation of its network in a decade next month (January).
The Bournemouth-based bus company, which carries just under 15 million passengers a year, is to introduce eight colour coded lines – Bourne, Priory, Uni, Royal, Village, Coast, Dolphin and Heath – to reflect its strong local connectivity and sense of community. Routes operating on each line with be denoted by the first letter of the name e.g ‘R’ (for Royal) followed by the service number such as 1, 2, 3 or 4.
All of the current 22 service numbers will change with the exception of four routes which are subsidised by Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole. The new network will focus on key hubs, including the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Bournemouth University, while offering new off-peak connections to destinations such as Mudeford, Verwood and Ringwood. Yellow Buses says the new network, which takes effect from January 15, 2017, reflects the changing life and work patterns of its customers as well as simplifying the network and addressing congestion. Extra early morning and late night services are being introduced on some routes to help shift workers at locations such as Bournemouth town centre, Poole town centre and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Journey times are also being revised on several routes in order to improve punctuality and reliability while bus frequencies and timings are being simplified to help customers.
Andrew Smith, Managing Director, said: “Yellow Buses has proudly served Bournemouth and the surrounding area for 114 years, connecting local people and local communities. Our new network highlights that unique bond with the introduction of an even more customer orientated service using route names and clear colour coding. It’s a network designed for the needs of our customers in 2017 and we believe it will prove very popular.”
New individual line timetables will be available this month (December) and a single complete timetable booklet is planned for production in January. Full details of the network will also be all listed on Yellow Buses’ website at www.bybus.co.uk
Yellow Buses operates a fleet of 131 buses and 18 coaches with a staff of 430. Its vehicles cover nearly five million miles across the Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset area.
Yellow Buses is part of RATP Group, the world’s fifth largest public transport provider.