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Last updated: 05 January 2021

 
     
  Archive/Photograph of the Month  
     
 

Provincial 401 (KJD 528P), West Street, Fareham on March 21 1991.

 Thirty years ago, on January 20 1991, most of Stagecoach’s Portsmouth based operations were sold, on government instruction, to Transit Holdings. This was an indirect result of Portsmouth City Council’s 1987 decision to sell Portsmouth City Transport. A bid from Southern Vectis was withdrawn when they saw the financial position of PCT and the business was eventually sold, in June 1988,  to a consortium of Southampton City Transport and PCT’s staff.

Also, in June taking advantage of the uncertainty created by the drawn-out sale process, People’s Provincial started services from Fareham via Paulsgove to Portsmouth, competing on the main routes on Portsea Island. Portsmouth Citybus, as it had become, was then sold to the Stagecoach group in October 1989, becoming a subsidiary of Southdown. Stagecoach then merged the two operations into “Southdown Portsmouth”.

The Stagecoach takeover attracted the attentions of the government’s competition authority who reported that, with certain guarantees in place, the takeover would be approved. However, this decision was overruled by Government who ordered the sale.

Transit reacted, immediately on completing the takeover, to Provincial’s presence in Portsmouth by starting, in February 1991, a service between Gosport & Fareham via Rowner and Bridgemary. Retaliating, Provincial started extra routes in Portsmouth and ran extra “duplicates” against the new Transit Gosport route. To provide extra vehicles fourteen Leyland Nationals were purchased from London Buses, arriving in March (eight) or May (six). Many, like KJD 528P, were pressed into service in their existing, down at heel, ex-London condition. KJD carried “Bexleybus” cream & blue, some had red & cream “Harrow Buses” livery while the rest had standard London Buses red.

 
 
 
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Both Southampton and Hoeford buses are now displaying 'Proud of our NHS' on the destinations. Southampton's 47602 - SN14 FFG on service 3 in Kathleen Road, Sholing and Hoeford's 67177 - YX66 WPB on service 9A in Stoke Road, Gosport.

Photo by James May/Gerry Tormey

 
 

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