Catalogue description Records created or inherited by the National Bus Company

Details of FH
Reference: FH
Title: Records created or inherited by the National Bus Company

Records of the National Bus Company, established in 1968 to carry passengers by road and linked seaborne transport, to co-ordinate transport services with other transport boards and to operate as a travel agency.

The records have been split into those of the central administration and those of the regions. Also included are the records of some predecessors.

Date: 1923-1991
Related material:

For records of the transport departments see MT

Separated material:

Records of individual bus companies have not been transferred to the Public Record Office but have been offered to local record offices. Some records of interest to the bus enthusiast, not selected by the Public Record Office, have also been preserved by the Kithead Trust.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Not Public Record(s)
Language: English

National Bus Company, 1968-1989

Physical description: 14 series
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 1989-1990 The Other Oxford Bus Company

Custodial history: On the dissolution of the National Bus Company, the records of the company were transferred to the offices of The Other Oxford Bus Company in Cowley Road, Oxford for the period 1989-1990, and were then transferred to the Public Record Office.
Administrative / biographical background:

The National Bus Company created on November 1968, was empowered to carry passengers and their luggage by road and linked seaborne transport, to co-ordinate transport services with other Boards (eg British Rail), and to operate as travel agents.

The Board of the National Bus Company, responsible for determining general policy and establishing central financial control, was appointed by the Minister of Transport. The Company was authorised to organise local bus services and in doing so to work with the regional Passenger Transport Executives which were under local authority control. Additionally, the Company could be required by the Minister of Transport to replace rail passenger transport in areas from which British Rail had withdrawn its services.

A major function of the National Bus Company was the development of national coach travel. In 1972 a Central Activities Group was established to promote leisure travel. This Group took over responsibility for the long distance National Express network in 1973. National Travel was established in the same year to co-ordinate these express services. In 1976 National Holidays was established to promote coach tours and in 1977 it became part of the National Travel Group, which replaced the Central Activities Group. In 1983 National Travel was joined by National Travelworld and London Crusader Ltd, to develop retail travel sales, and then by the London Country Bus Service. Together they formed the National Products Division which provided a marketing and development organisation for the regions.

In 1980, the Transport Act which abolished road service licences for long distance routes (over 30 miles) began the deregulation of bus services. This was followed by the Transport Act of 1982 which empowered the National Bus Company to dispose of shares and assets.

In 1984, The Government White Paper Buses, (Cmnd 9300, 1984) stated 'there is no good reason why local bus services should be provided by a national corporation' and recommended that the National Bus Company be re-organised into smaller independent units, to be sold off as private companies. Bus services would be freed from restrictions by the abolition of road service licencing except in London.

These provisions were embodied in the Transport Act of 1985, which came into force at various dates in 1986-1987. The National Bus Company had three years from 6 January 1986 to dispose of its 72 subsidiaries, after which it was to be dissolved by the Secretary of State. All the companies were sold by the end of 1988.

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