From 1 January 1970, many bus companies were nationalised and became part of the National Bus Company (NBC). The arrow head in the logo – a red slanting N reflected below as a blue N - was a familiar pattern on all buses throughout the country. The logo appeared above the driver’s cab and on the front panels below the windscreen. At first, to the passenger, nothing seemed to be different. The local buses remained green with PROVINCIAL on display as the colour picture shows.
|Leyland National - SBK 740S||AEC Regent - 972 CWL||Bristol RE - BCG 104J||Leyland National - UFX 848S|
As all companies were essentially “under one roof”, there were some local changes when ‘Hants & Dorset’ bus services were merged with Provincial. Some of their buses were now part of the Provincial group rather than being a separate competing bus company. The Head Office of the new Provincial Company was in Bournemouth. A large number of the older pre-war double deckers were withdrawn and new buses ordered. Also, there was a total re-organisation and re-numbering of the local routes. The Company went for a standardised single decker fleet with large capacity one-man operated vehicles. In 1972, the first Leyland National buses appeared at Hoeford. Gosport Bus Station was opened in the same year. Surveys of passengers during the winter of 1978-1979 created a revised network of services, which received the local identity of ‘New Provincial’, and came into operation on 29 June 1980. The traditional ‘Provincial’ scroll disappeared and was replaced with very plain lettering. The famous garter design also disappeared from the rear panels of buses during the NBC period.
From October 1986, bus companies were no longer nationalised and the NBC organisation was sold off in areas.
Provincial took advantage of a growing market by buying some minibuses to reach estates and narrow buses not served by buses beforehand. In fact, this became a trend across the country and minibuses appeared everywhere on our streets. The name Provincial remained as a clear statement of the local identity. Experiments were undertaken by using a wide range of new minibuses on the market and these ‘demonstrators’ as they were called could often be seen plying our local roads for a week or so for the Company to assess their suitability and handling on local routes. In addition, Provincial had become known for only having single deckers in the 1980s, so a London Transport Routemaster was borrowed to see if double deckers could be returned to the Fareham-Gosport peninsula. After the trial period between 5 and 28 March 1987, the open platform buses proved to be unsuccessful so it was many years before double deckers with doors found their way to our streets.
|Iveco Minibus - D119 DRV||AEC Routemaster - WLT 831|