Member News & Events

Honour for Yellows’ night buses

STAR TURN: Celebrating Yellow Buses winning an AM:PM award are, from left Marketing & Promotions Assistant Pauline Foot, Marketing Manager Fiona Harwood and Sales Executive – Operations Jay Thornton

Yellow Buses has been honoured for helping people get to a night out in Bournemouth – and back home again afterwards. 

The locally-owned bus company triumphed in the AM:PM Awards which celebrate achievements boosting the town’s night time economy. Yellows were successful in the Getting Out Getting Home category for the introduction of the Night One and Night Five services. 

The category recognises individuals or companies operating in the BH postcodes area for their commitment or actions to provide a safe and/or pleasurable travel experience Night One is a half-hourly service from Westbourne to Christchurch via Bournemouth on Fridays and Saturdays from 12.30am to 4am. Night Five is a regular Friday and Saturday service from Bournemouth Square to Bournemouth University via Charminster and Winton between 12.45am and 3.55am. 

Yellow Buses’ Marketing and Sales Manager Fiona Harwood said: “We were delighted to win this award. We are very much part of the fabric of the Bournemouth community and it is our role to get people to their nights out and back home safely. 

“We work closely with many of the bars, clubs, venues, attractions and accommodation-providers right across the conurbation and it is this joined-up, partnership working that helps the vital night time economy to thrive. “The night time economy in Bournemouth is particularly important as it supports more than 2,500 jobs and brings more than £130 million into the local economy.” 

The AM:PM Awards focus on celebrating the achievements and successes of Bournemouth’s town centre (and beyond) hospitality businesses. They are administered by BCP Council, in association with the Town Centre BID, and primarily aimed at supporting the bars, clubs and other venues and rewarding great service and amazing staff.  

Yellow Buses operates a fleet of 130 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.

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Yellows welcome new finance chief aboard

Yellow Buses has appointed a highly experienced new Financial Director.

Noel Smith has joined the management team at the Bournemouth-based, locally-owned bus company.

He has previously held senior positions with BAE Systems, National Air Traffic Services and Aquila Air Traffic Management Services, as well as an interim role at Tower Supplies in Poole.

Noel said: “I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead and am delighted to be given this opportunity. These are exciting times for Yellow Buses as we continue the transition journey from RAPT Dev ownership and develop and grow the business as a profitable independent entity.

“My focus will be to use my extensive corporate experience to drill down into our business, looking at key financial drivers, to see where I can make a difference and add that one or two per cent so crucial to making a success of anything in life.

“There is a close knit team at Yellow Buses, a real family atmosphere with everyone pulling in the same direction, which is fantastic.

“I am open and honest, I like complete transparency and because I work best in an integrated operation my door is always open to any views from anyone in the company.”

Managing Director David Squire said: “We welcome Noel aboard to our leadership team as someone who is an excellent practitioner right across the board and will bring a wealth of experience to Yellow Buses.

“Noel is very much an all-rounder, a problem-solver and a blue sky thinker who is already deeply immersed in the Yellows’ culture and I look forward to a long a fruitful professional relationship with him.

“His role – as someone new to the industry – is to sometimes put fresh eyes on the company and, if necessary, challenge the way things are done, drive results across all sectors.

He will help to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible service for our 15 million passengers each year – with our expanded services, new vehicles and increased investment already leading to more customers and giving him a great platform from which to work.”

Noel, who is married with two children and lives in Verwood, is a governor of a Bournemouth school and a trustee of two local Verwood charities.

Yellow Buses was acquired by its management team – David Squire, Managing Director; Simon Newport, Commercial Director and Phil Pannell, Service Delivery Director – from RATP Dev in a management buyout in July 2019 for an undisclosed sum.

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Panto bus is a work of pure genie-us

Audiences heading for Bournemouth’s pantomime at the Pavilion this Christmas will find Yellow Buses’ specially-branded vehicle just the ticket.

For the single-decker is emblazoned with the faces of the stars of Aladdin – including television’s Richard Blackwood and Amelia Lily.

The bus will be running on all routes across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in the run-up to the panto and duration of the show itself, from December 7 to January 5.

And the Bournemouth-based, locally-owned bus company’s mascot Buster Bear was on hand to meet the cast at the theatre and on a short journey.

Aladdin stars actor and rapper Richard Blackwood as Abanazar, X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother finalist Amelia Lily as Spirit of the Ring, and Bournemouth panto favourites Noel Brodie and David Ball as Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey.

Richard is best known recently for playing hardman Vincent Hubbard in EastEnders from 2015 to 2018, followed by ITV’s Dancing on Ice last winter.

Aladdin, sponsored by Pier Approach bar and restaurant Hot Rocks, is being staged by the same team behind the hugely successful production of Cinderella last year.

The laugh-out-loud story of Aladdin’s spectacular adventures is likely to play to packed houses and includes stunning scenery and, of course, a flying carpet.

Fiona Harwood, Marketing and Sales Manager of Yellow Buses said: “Yellow Buses is very much part of the fabric of Bournemouth and the Pavilion’s traditional family pantomime is at the heart of the community we serve.

“Therefore, we didn’t have a moment’s hesitation before dressing our first panto bus. We will also be running our special open top Christmas bus for our passengers to experience the sparkling Christmas lights in November and December.”

The bus is among a fleet of 10 community inspired vehicles produced by Yellow Buses for particular organisations or occasions.

Tia Thorp, BH Live Product Marketing Manager, added: “We are trying to get as many people exploring the arts as possible and this bus will help to spread the word right across the conurbation and help us build audiences across all age groups.

“We are grateful to Yellow Buses for their support. It is another excellent example of how businesses in Bournemouth can work together for the common good. And remember, catching a bus is way to get to the panto.”

Yellow Buses was acquired by its management team – David Squire, Managing Director; Simon Newport, Commercial Director and Phil Pannell, Service Delivery Director – from RATP Dev in a management buyout in July 2019 for an undisclosed sum.

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Yellow Buses at the wheel as headline sponsor of the Destination Awards

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

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Yellow Buses under local ownership in management buyout

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.

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Yellow Buses has marked the 50th anniversary of the last trolley bus in Bournemouth.

Yellow Buses has marked the 50th anniversary of the last trolley bus in Bournemouth.

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.”

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Yellow Buses turn pink for charity

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.”


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Yellow Buses unveils two open top services for summer

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

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Keith’s dinky decker stands tall

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.”

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