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Gloucestershire’s buses in Stroud since the 1900s
A History of Stroud’s Buses–3
1960s The 1960s started optimistically for both Bristol Omnibus and Stroud’s passengers with the opening in 1960 of a new bus station at Merrywalks, as part of the company’s programme of terminus improvements at that time. It ended the particularly difficult practise of on street running in the town… for the time being. Not only were passenger facilities enhanced—with a café, booking office, and ease of interchange—drivers and administrative staff benefited from a canteen and modern offices. During the construction of the Merrywalks Shopping Centre, completed in 1972, the bus station was altered slightly but from then onwards changed little over the years save for a general air of decay and the closure in the 1980s of the newsagent once occupying the entire passenger platform length.
From 1957 and throughout the sixties, Bristol Omnibus progressively introduced one man operation on its buses, first with the conversion of Bristol LSs, continuing with MWs at the withdrawal of half-cab single decks. It was not until 1979, however, that the last of the vehicles requiring both driver and conductor were withdrawn at Stroud, even though conductors lasted a little longer. Also throughout the decade, one man operated vehicles adopted a more modern image with a wide cream band between window and skirt to mark such vehicles out as different. Crew operated double decks continued in Tilling green with two cream bands. These liveries lasted until repaints in leaf green started in 1972. The only major changes to passenger services were a renumbering of routes in 1967 and the introduction in 1966 of a through service to South Wales in the form of a Stroud – Dursley – Chepstow service (415) upon the completion that year of the Severn Bridge. So it was that Stroud-based Bristol Omnibus vehicles operated into the heart of Red & White territory in a remarkable turn of events when compared to the situation 16 years earlier. The 415 was curtailed at Berkeley, Gloucestershire in 1972. With departures dropping by only four percent, a passenger travelling towards the end of the sixties would have seen little difference in the network compared to that of the beginning of the decade. Cross-subsidy between trunk and rural routes plus continued OMO ensured this was so. By 1968, that position had changed and would do so even more dramatically over the coming years…
Those who wish to have a thorough understanding of Stroud’s bus history should seek out the book “Stroud’s Buses” by N P Daniels. Over 279 pages, it gives a comprehensive & illustrated history
 Stroud Bus Station in the early 1960s—notice the crowds
An early view of Stroud bus station
Cotswold Green RED & WHITE RED BUS _____
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Minchinhampton 60s-style
To speed up man-man operations, Bristol Omnibus began installing this “Speed Setright” combination, which included a motorised push-button issuing mechanism rather than a hand crank handle