The Harrogate Bus Company
The Harrogate Bus Company runs local buses in and around Harrogate & Knaresborough, the well-known 36 linking Leeds & Ripon, as well as routes to Wetherby and into Nidderdale.
In 2012 we invested over £1million in 8 brand new Versa buses for our local network. Beneath their stylish exterior, these smart little buses are fully accessible, with step-free entry and dedicated space for a wheelchair user and buggies. At the back, their low-emission engines meet the latest Euro-5 standard, ensuring we play our part in looking after Harrogate's environment. We're also playing our part in supporting the region's economy too, as these buses are built by Optare in Sherburn-in-Elmet, only 20 miles away.
Most of our bus services are provided purely commercially by the company, with only a few journeys receiving direct financial support from local authorities.
A brief history
Harrogate & District Travel Ltd. was formed in 1989 as a subsidiary of the AJS Group of companies, becoming a Blazefield subsidiary in 1991, but its origins can be traced back to the pioneering days of bus travel in the early part of the last century.
In 1906 steam buses first arrived in Harrogate run by the Harrogate Road Car Company, petrol buses commencing with the same company in 1911.
1n 1924 the company was absorbed into the Tilling and British Automobile Traction group, and its name was soon changed to Harrogate and District Road Car Company. Expansion was rapid, and in 1927 the name was again changed to West Yorkshire Road Car Company, a name that will be well known to those who have travelled with us for many years.
West Yorkshire Road Car continued to expand, with depots in Bradford, Keighley, Leeds, Malton, Otley and York, as well as its Harrogate base, and numerous smaller sub-depots.
In 1948 along with other companies that were then part of the Tilling group, West Yorkshire Road Car was nationalised, and remained so, becoming part of the National Bus Company in 1969, until privatisation in 1987.
Many smaller bus companies were taken over by WYRC both in its earlier privately owned days, and under state control, and for a time the company ran over 500 buses.
West Yorkshire Road Car returned to private ownership in 1987, under the control of the AJS Group. As with many of the former state controlled companies that were privatised at the time, WYRC was quickly separated into smaller companies. The Harrogate operations were transferred to the new company of Harrogate & District Travel Ltd. Harrogate & District, along with Keighley & District and Yorkshire Coastliner, continued under common ownership until acquired by the newly formed Blazefield Group in 1991.
All three companies are still owned by Transdev Blazefield (now part of Transdev UK plc) who have maintained and further developed Harrogate & District as a locally run business, with a local identity.