A subsidiary of the
British Electric Traction Co. Ltd, The Poole and District Light Railways
Company Ltd, commenced a tram service in Poole in April 1901. It wanted
to extend its service, to run in to Bournemouth, and on to Christchurch.
This was strongly opposed by Bournemouth Corporation, who decided to run
its own tram services in the town. The Poole company appealed this, and
after much legal wrangling, a compromise was reached whereby, Poole Corporation
bought the tram company's undertaking in Poole and leased it to Bournemouth
Corporation for a period of 30 years. Included in the purchase was the
Tramway depot at Parkstone (which would be leased to Bournemouth Corporation)
and a plot of land next to the generating station at Christchurch.
Bournemouth Corporation commenced running tram services in Bournemouth on 23rd July 1902, on a route from Lansdowne to Pokesdown (Warwick Road). The date of the lease of the Poole lines to Bournemouth was set as 15th June 1905. The first through tramcar from Poole to Bournemouth ran on 3rd July 1905 and the first through tramcar from Poole Station to Christchurch Priory ran on 17th October 1905. By this time there was about 10 routes in operation in all. Between 1902 and 1926 they bought a total of 133 trams (including 16 acquired from Poole and District).
The Tramway depot, Workshops and Generating Station was erected on a plot of land acquired by the Corporation in Southcote Road, adjacent to the railway line, and a small siding put in for coal trucks.
In 1928 it was realised that the lines from Park Gates East and Pottery Junction were worn and in need of replacement, but it was only leased from Poole Corporation and the lease was due to expire in 1935. After discussion between the two Corporations, it was decided to abandon the line, and Poole Corporation decided to allow Hants & Dorset Motor Services to run motor buses on this route, commencing in 1929.
Under the terms of the Bournemouth Corporation Act 1930, the Council now had powers to convert the tramway system to trolley bus operation. This was given immediate priority and the Council decided on 10th February 1933, to construct an experimental line from the Square to Westbourne and four trolley buses were purchased. This service was opened on 6th May 1933.
Following the success of the experimental trolley bus service, the Council decided, at the end of 1933, to convert all of the tram services to trolley bus operation. On 8th April 1936, the last tram service operated from the Christchurch Terminus to Bournemouth Square.
During the Second World War, some of the Corporation's trolley buses were loaned to London Transport, and it in return was loaned six AEC Regent double deck buses. During 1942 the Ministry released some 32 seat austerity Bedford buses and four Guy Wartime Austerity double deck buses, fitted with diesel engines, the first diesels for Bournemouth.
The Southcote Road depot, designed for tram operations, was considered inadequate. Therefore in 1950, it was decided to find a site to build a replacement depot. This was built at Mallard Road, in Strouden Park, in north Bournemouth. It was opened on 24th July 1953.
Early in 1963, it was decided that as trolley bus operation was becoming expensive to operate, and spare parts were becoming difficult to obtain, that motor buses would gradually replace trolley buses.
In 1964 Ian Cunningham was appointed as General Manager, after his predecessor moved to Edinburgh Transport.
In May 1965, an extension of Mallard Road depot was officially opened, comprising an additional garage building and the Administrative Offices, and in June, the Southcote Road depot was vacated. (It was later used by the Councils Transport and Refuse Departments).
The new Leyland Atlantean was tested in May 1963, as was the Daimler Fleetline. Several of the new buses delivered had detachable tops, and were used on open top seaside services, this was popular with visitors to the resort in the summer.
The first trolley bus route abandoned was in Lansdowne Road, early in 1964.
Advertising on the outside of Corporation vehicles first appeared in 1966, breaking 60 years of tradition.
The end was in sight for the trolley bus system, after 36 years of service, the last trolley bus operated on 19th April 1969. Motor Buses operated the services from April 20th of that year.
The trolley buses were replaced by Daimler Fleetlines with Alexander bodywork and Leyland Atlanteans with Metro Cammell bodywork.
Deregulation saw several
operators introduce competitive services in the area, several competing
with Yellow Buses.
One such competitor was Routemaster Bournemouth who, as the name implies, ran former London Transport Routemasters, painted green and cream, over some Yellow Buses routes.
Yellow Buses retaliated (initially as White Buses) using some of its oldest Fleetlines, four former Wilts & Dorset (ex-London Transport DMS type) Fleetlines, acquired in 1993, via Beeston of Hadleigh, and the their first ever Bristols (ex Yorkshire Traction VRT's, acquired in 1994). These were painted in overall white livery, carrying White Buses logo, and introduced in direct competition on BHT's routes. However, apparently following indications that the Office of Fair Trading might not take too kindly to the impression that White Buses was a new operator, later Yellow Buses vehicles receiving the White Buses treatment, retained the Yellow Buses logo, whilst the front panel beneath the windscreen remained yellow.
Dorset Travel Services was acquired, in April 1992, from its joint management and National Express owners.
Vintage Yellow Buses first operated open top seaside tours in the Bournemouth area in the summer of 1995.
The business and vehicles of Whippet Coaches (Brough) of Northbourne was acquired 8/12/00.
All the fleets in the Group came under direct control of Bournemouth Transport as from 1st June 2001.