1970sChanges were afoot by the close of the sixties and throughout the seventies. Gloucestershire County Council began to step in financially, as passengers numbers began to tumble. Even so, by 1975, the pattern of departures from Stroud was some 80 per cent of its 1960 level, with a general thinning of services. The 53 seater Bristol RELL single deck 36ft bus had from the late sixties begun to replace Bristol Omnibus’ crew-operated double decks, as was already the case on the Stroud – Nailsworth shorts on 564. The erosion of Sunday bus services had begun in the early 1970s. By the end of the 70s, Sunday services operated on just six routes whereas the position had been 14 in 1975 and as many as 25 in 1970. The seventies also saw the replacement from 1972 of traditional Tilling green with National leaf green, as the first outward sign to the public that Bristol Omnibus was from 1969 part of the National Bus Company. Staff uniforms changed from dark winter coats and lighter, faded khaki summer jackets to a standard NBC grey-blue. The early part of the decade also saw more RELL 36ft saloons (now with luggage pen and 50 seats) and the start of deliveries in 1975 of the B43F LH6L as direct MW replacements. Even so, by 1978, MWs still outnumbered LHs. In 1979, the remaining crew operated double deck
routes—421 Chalford – Stonehouse (by now half-hourly off-peak) and 435 Stroud – Whiteshill—saw replacement by single decks, as the first Leyland National B52Fs began to arrive. As direct replacement for the double decks, they remained crew operated for a while before becoming one man operated. Virtually all country depots received Nationals beforehand but Stroud’s position was unique. Till modified, its bus station exit could not accommodate them. 1979 also saw the arrival of Stroud’s first minibuses—two Reeve Burgess-bodied Ford Transits—used on Nailsworth local services and the 563 Stroud – Slad – Sheepscombe – Cheltenham. They sported a green and yellow livery, rather ahead of what was to come in the mid-1980s, and alongside the Bristol name and National Bus Company logo was Gloucestershire County Council’s. These minibuses brought with them their own staffing problems but were nonetheless a success.
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