There was no requirement in the 1985 Act or its consequent regulations for the commercial bus operator to consult before making changes to the timetable and the position of bus stops. The criteria for registration did not include any reference to public demand or to existing services and objections could no longer be made by other operators or local authorities.
In 1987 Sir Brian bought United Counties. The company had been split into four parts, engineering plus United Counties, Milton Keynes Citybus and Luton. The latter two initially went to management and employee groups.
Things remained relatively stable for a while, but, as the Souter empire expanded, so buses from other Stagecoach companies began to appear in "furrin" parts. A batch of Leyland Titans ...
In May 1993 Northampton Borough Council decided to sell its transport undertaking. It was sold to Grampian Regional Transport (later First Bus) and was put into common management with Leicester City Transport, also a GRT acquisition.
Again, the rich vermilion** livery gave way to a version of GRT cream-and-splodges but in muddy maroon; and strange vehicles appeared!The Mercedes Bendy was a one-off - it also did a stint at Leicester ...
In order to discourage any potential purchasers United Counties registered two services which were, historically, Corporation routes:-
80 Bus Station – Chalcombe Avenue.Now part of Stagecoach's 4, Chalcombe Avenue was NCT's route 24 and 25, subsequently extended to Obelisk Rise - now all called Sunnyside on the present Stagecoach map.
85 Bus Station – Thorn Hill – Danes’ Camp Way.Briar Hill was originally NCTS route 20, subsequently extended into further development at Camp Hill. Here is Stagecoach 85 grazing at its terminus near the roundabout.
Northampton Transport was then sold to GRT (Grampian Regional Transport, later to be First Group) Holdings.
The competitors kissed and made up. Four of the six workings on service 1 (Duston to Ecton Brook) ...