Saturday, 2 January 2016

Sans Serif Suspicion?

Bus-Person Barm-Pot Blog-Post
One of the delights of the Fearnley Fresh First Bus has been the outpouring of heritage liveries. The Manchester constituents have been done, likewise South Yorkshire and many others. The latest to arrive on the scene is the red and cream of The West Yorkshire Road Car Company.
The Harrogate Road Car Company formed in 1906 running firstly steam buses in Harrogate, then petrol buses which were introduced in 1911. In 1924 the company was absorbed into the Tilling & British Automobile Traction group, and its name changed to Harrogate & District Road Car Company. With the company's expansion during the following years, its name was changed to West Yorkshire Road Car Company in 1927, to reflect its wider geographical spread.

In 1967. the Samuel Ledgard bus company was purchased.

As part of the privatisation of the National Bus Company, West Yorkshire was sold in a management buyout to the AJS Group. In December 1988, West Yorkshire was split into smaller companies: Harrogate, Keighley and York plus Malton depot were sold in July 1991 to Blazefield Holdings which group was later sold to Transdev.

The Otley area operations and York City were sold on to Yorkshire Rider, successors to West Yorkshire PTE which is why First Bus is doing the heritage thing rather than Transdev.
YJ58 RTX had previously been in barbie livery and carried truly dynamic branding for route X84.
But fbb is not sure about the livery.
Is that logo correct? fbb can only remember buses showing a "plain"  WEST YORKSHIRE  in capitals with no serif and with no underlining.
A model bus follows the lead of First ...
... also underlined and sans serif.

fbb has trawled through various on-line illustrations and it would appear that underlining only accompnied a somewhat more decorative lettering style ...
... in a standard ex Tilling group font.

This single decker shows a variant ...
... which is different again. This vehicle aquired Metro livery and looked really tatty as it prepared to set off from Sheffield to Haliax.
The bus ended is working life with an independent operator Rackford Coaches at Dinnington near Sheffield
Note that its bottom has been painted red, but at its rear upper end you can spy the red ziggles that graced (?) the privatised Yorkshire Rider livery.
The ziggles, fbb is informed, are a stylised "YR".

Obvious when you know, isn't it?

Yet another West Yorkshire variation appeared on many bus stops, this time with underlining but with a noticeably squarer font.
Or this variation from the time after privatisation but before the various onward sales.
Incidentally a closer look at the second First Bus picture shows the above logo on the blazer of Pat Monaghan an ex WYRC driver now working for First.
So the first burning question for 2012 is, obviously, have First got it right? One thing is certain (or might be?); if the bus has an underlined logo then it really should have a second cream line under the top deck windows.
Of course it doesn't matter a diddly squat; it is the overall impression that counts and fbb isn't really so pedantic that he would even begin to worry.

One thing is abundantly clear, however. There is something that speaks stability, reliability and operator pride about the simple (classic?) liveries of yesteryear. The oft-labelled "boring" paint schemes of yore had the benefit of being easy to maintain and, in general, looking good even as they aged.

Does a flashy twirly livery with lots of "clever" graphics really attract more business?
Perhaps "keep it simple" would be a useful theme for 2016.

After all we ALL knew where to shop in Newcastle, didn't we?

 Next yet unplanned blog : Sunday 3rd January 


  1. The P reg Leopard was not a WYRCC purchase but a WYPTE one. It was delivered in green and cream (had it been Road Car, it would have been new in NBC red). The red livery pictured was a post-deregulation variant - possibly after AJS sold off some Road Car operations to Yorkshire Rider. Other pictures show it in red with YR fleetnames.

  2. With regard to the Stagecoach West "There's so much more to see.." campaign on the 55s it does raise public interest, with people commenting on the content of the montages when they were first introduced. These pictorial liveries are the second stage of promotion on the 55, building on a previous batch of vehicles and introduction a 20 minute frequency. Having raised awareness and patronage of the 55 the second push was encourage travel to other destinations long the route by people who already travel for work, or education or shopping.
    Incidentally, very few people along the route know that it is "Stagecoach" it is universally known as "the 55". I'd say that means the marketing has worked!