Old Bus Tickets

Blue Bus Service (Slough) – Ultimate

Blue Bus Service - Ultimate           From the Sidney R G Page collection

When I received the Blue Bus Services Daimler Freeline contribution from Stephen Howarth for the Old Bus Photos site I remembered I had the above tickets. Knowing Stephen knows a thing or two about Blue Bus I sent him a scan of the tickets to see if he had any other information that maybe of use, what a surprise when I got his reply.

“I think these must be another Blue Bus Services NOT the Willington one.

All the books I have on Blue Bus state that the Bell Punch system was used until January 1970, and was then replaced with the TIM machine from the following day.”

It was on closer inspection that the penny dropped, the tickets have the word ‘Service’ not ‘Services’ so there must of been a Blue Bus Service as well does anyone have any information on them?

One thing that is different about these Ultimates is instead of the usual two or three boxes for where the stage number prints on these tickets it is one overall area for the date, I do not think I have any more like this.


21/12/11 – 11:29

The only other one I can find in the post-war period is Blue Bus of Slough. Could this be it?

Neville Mercer


21/12/11 – 11:33

This was Blue Bus Service (A V Cole), later Blue Bus Service Ltd. of Slough. They had a Windsor – Maidenhead service, sold to Thames Valley in 1966. However, they had previously bought the Maidenhead – Paley Street service of Bray Transport Ltd. This too passed to Thames Valley – in 1969.
Ultimates were used intermittently but by the end, no tickets at all were issued.

DRH – Transport Ticket Society


21/12/11 – 13:58

Remarkable that a company could get away with issuing no tickets at all so close to the bureaucratic capital of England! I do recall that in the early 1970s Mitchells of Stornoway did not issue tickets on their town services, but they no doubt felt free to paddle their own canoe far from the corridors of power (to slightly mix metaphors)!

Stephen Ford


24/12/11 – 07:03

Another operator who did not issue tickets was Millport Motors I remember travelling from Largs to Cumbre Slip on the CalMac ferry in the early 1970s, and being met by a Millport Motors vehicle to take us in to Millport.
The fare collection system was a ‘Plastic Bucket’. You just threw your money in to it and off you went.

Stephen Howarth


25/12/11 – 11:11

The mention of Blue Bus services reminded me that J. J. Longstaff of Mirfield used this name during the 1950s.although the Ultimate Tickets always carried the title Transport Services. You may be interested to know that having operated the service from 1930 Mirfield to Dewsbury via The Knowl the company is ceasing operations from 3/1/2012 and operations are being carried on by Albert Lyles of Batley an old established operator who has never previously operated a stage carriage service having a fleet of coaches.

Philip Carlton


26/12/11 – 08:57

Don’t think there has ever been a legal requirement in PSV law to issue tickets – London Transport (for one) did not do so on many flat fare routes (e.g the Red Arrow routes until the 80s (coin operated turnstiles), and the 1970s minibus routes (farebox)
I’ve met one or two very small independents that haven’t bothered with tickets.
Whether the inland revenue (or whatever they are called this week) would have something to say about not being able to account for revenue, I’m not sure…



26/12/11 – 11:29

Quite recently I had occasion to make a visit in East Anglia – an area I know little about. This involved travelling the last few miles from a well known large city to a quiet little village on a route operated by a fairly well known small independent. The vehicle was a coach and the Setright machine was resting on the driver’s lap. An obliging chap, I asked for a single to the village concerned and was told "£2.40 please" and the Setright ticket was issued. I put it straight in my pocket as I wished to view the nice fresh scenery. Later that night at home (I’d had a lift back) I looked briefly at the ticket before "binning it" to see *shillings*pence – I hope he enjoyed his pint of best real ale on me that night !!

Chris Youhill


28/12/11 – 16:06

After the Road Traffic Act (1930) came into effect, there was usually a condition attached to Road Service Licences that tickets had to be issued.
Small operators who had not previously issued tickets, were obliged to obtain them when they first obtained RSLs. This created welcome business for the printers. However, it was not unknown for tickets still not to be issued unless you asked for them. In rural areas, drivers knew all the passengers and only strangers (especially strangers who looked like they might have been ‘men from the Ministry’) would get tickets.
Stocks of very nice tickets have survived from the 1930s purely because the operators had ordered a full range of tickets and rarely (or sometimes with the higher values), never issued them!
Special dispensation had to be obtained when (no-ticket) fareboxes came in (1960s/70s). I recall Yeomans of Canon Pyon having to apply for this when they decided to introduce them. A bit of a fuss at the time.
London Transport, however, was a special case, as it was in effect both the operator and licensing body and thus able to ‘give itself permission’ not to issue tickets. The first ‘no-ticket’ buses were on the Red Arrow route 500 (1966) which had Setright coin-operated turnstiles.


I don’t know which East Anglian operator is referred to by Chris Youhill but I wouldn’t read too much into not receiving a correctly-valued ticket, especially from a non-£p Setright. If it is an operator I know of who still uses Setrights, the driver was quite likely to have been the proprietor.

DRH – Transport Ticket Society