Pennine Motor Services started way back in 1925, as two brothers set up the company. Across the years Pennine has kept within the family, with the third generation continuing on. Originally working from Gargrave in about six or so miles from Skipton, North Yorkshire. The fleet used a distinctive livery of orange and black, using various chassis and bodywork combinations. Eventually settling on the Leyland marque, with again a selection of bodywork. By the 1960's and 1970's the fleet had changed to Plaxton bodied coach chassis, visiting the dales and Lancashire. With routes to Ingelton, Barnoldswick, Settle and Burnley with a quick link to Giggleswick and even visiting Malham. Pennine had been a well respected operator and lasted beyond the deregulation initial few years, changing the fleet to Leyland Nationals during the 1990's. However the Nationals soon found themselves being replaced by step entrance and low floor Dennis Darts, most if not all with Plaxton/Revee Burgess bodywork.
But during April 2014 the family run business announced to the press and locals that after May 2014 Pennine would no longer provide their vehicles for service. Increased competition from Transdev Burnley & Pendle along the 215 Skipton to Burnely diagram, North Yorkshire County Council reduced repayments of the free bus pass journeys to around 20% and the impending expense of the DDA compliance ruling for PCV services. Are amongst the reasons for this hard decision, which was taken after a long time of consideration. So as Pennine sort after a positive outcome for its loyal passengers, Transdev announced they would provide an increased timetable for the Burnley service on the Mainline. But no-one company actually approached Pennine with any interest of its services, NYCC stepped in with a replacement minibus service to Settle as the three times a day service 58. Other routes have been taken by NYCC with a much reduced service, some have a three times a day operation. With this in mind, Pennine continued until their last operating day May 16th 2014. Buses started as normal as the 210, 212, 214, 215, 216 and 580 routes were used during the day, many local enthusiasts had gathered at Skipton bus station as preserved Leyland National LN19 and the Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard were displayed in the afternoon. Then the final journeys began with the 16:35 Malham departure with D15 a step entrance Dart running, locals and enthusiasts gathered to capture the final Malham journey, a fitting tribute. By 18:00 the final 214 Embsay trip had arrived in Skipton, I along with another enthusiast caught D15 working this one. Then the final Pennine trip to Carleton on the 212 service started at 18:35, with D11 (seen above on Skipton return) working the service. With four journeys left, two to Settle without a return trip and one to Burnley and a trip to Barnoldswick, and history saw another fine company depart the scene. I found the Pennine drivers a credit to the bus industry and very pleasant and happy for there 'offices' being photographed. I had started on Thursday May 15th with visits to Carleton, Settle and Embsay with a stop in Hellifield, finishing at Malham and Gargrave. On the final day I revisited Carleton, Embsay and took in the Horse Close service, with a visit to the depot and Gargrave. The last Malham service again was duly given some time to visit, as locals chatted about the final day, as D15 arrived with a mixtures of scholars and bus enthusiasts who took their shots. Pennine Motor Services 1925-2014 88 years of service.
Transdev in Harrogate have recently made changes to their schools network of routes. Some have been withdrawn while others have been re-numbered and given more double deckers. As a result the post Easter term has seen some very interesting movements in Harrogate. Five former Stagecoach Dennis Javelin Plaxton Interurban coaches have been withdrawn from service. With two former London County Leyland Olympians numbers 11 & 12 ( 12 arriving in Harrogate in 2013). Three former Armchair Leyland Olympians numbers 13-15, all five Olympians via Blackburn Transport ( 2004 ) to Transdev in 2007. The next Olympian is a ECW bodied NBC standard Leyland Olympian number 125, which started with United, then to Arriva before passing to Transdev in 2006, with Northern Blue. Number 163 started life with Merseyside MTL in 1989 as 263, later becoming Arriva 3263 by 2000. In 2006 the bus moved to Northern Blue, which became part of the Transdev fold, it stayed in Burnley gaining the former Hyndburn livery. 163 was repainted into yellow before transfer across to Harrogate for the new half term. The next Olympian has had a colourful life, starting with popular north midlands operator Stevenson's as number 96, passing to Midland Red North during 1994. The bus then passed to Arriva Midland red and later Arriva North West, then passing from Northern Blue, Lancashire United & Burnley. 196 was transfer over to Harrogate for use as additional coverage for the new look school term. Mention should also be made of the former Preston Olympian 2005, which made its way to Harrogate during 2013 via Stagecoach Preston, York Pullman and Transdev York. These buses operate on selected routes, with 125 working the 778H, while 11-13, 15 & 163 work the 781 & 783 services, 196 & 2005 work two separate routes within the new school services. For myself its a treat to see such vintage buses doing the rounds in Harrogate, but no doubt the low buses will be making more headway into the schools fleet across the next two years. The reason is because of the DDA compliance ruling issued by the Government in 2005, which called for all operated services to be low floor by 2015, but with an extension to 2017. There are still 10 Dennis Javalins and two Alexander Strider bodied Volvo B10B-58s with one Volvo B10M coach to be disposed off before the deadline of 2017. I would not be surprised if the Olympians and the remaining non low floor buses were withdrawn during 2015, just to keep ahead of the game. Harrogate has been low floor since 2004, on its commercial and subsidized services, using Volvo B10BLEs, B7TL, B9TL, B7RLEs and Optare Versa saloons. former
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond