Stroud’s buses may have been green for a three quarters of a century but in their time they’ve also seen red. Red Bus started in the early 1920s, when former Australian airman ‘Dick’ Reyne began bus service operations, possibly inspired by his English bride’s father, who worked for Western National. He quickly established himself as a local bus businessman skilled in the art of providing what we today would call commercial bus services. As the developing network of buses radiated from Stroud to its deeper rural hinterland, it was Red Bus rather than established Western National which opened up routes to a number of formerly isolated villages. The arrival of Reyne’s motor bus was something of a revolution for communities such as Ruscombe, reliant till then on horse buses and carriers’ carts—or walking. Reyne developed the art of providing services tailored to when passengers needed them. His expanding network overlapped that provided by Western National and naturally caused WNOC some concern. Events in 1933 came as a shock to both WNOC and the operator surrounding WNOC, namely Bristol Tramways & Carriage Co. Red Bus had sold to the growing and predominantly South Wales Red & White conglomerate, and this heightened considerably the tensions between operators in Stroud. Reyne transferred to the board of Red & White and
continued his interest in bus operation for some years. The unease felt at the time by both WNOC and BTCC translated into an historic post-Traffic Act 1930 deal, where route mileage was shared between operators. Not only did this spawn joint operation, one operator might operate one route one week and another the following. There arose a complex ticket inter-availability policy between operators, dependent upon who was operating where. Shortly after the 1948 formation of the state owned British Transport Commission, Red & White sold to the state. This paved the way for one of the most interesting of post-nationalisation bus reorganisations. Red & White and the green buses of Western National, both landlocked by Bristol Tramways, gave up their Stroud routes in favour of the Bristol company whose buses, by then, were also green. So ended the red bus era in Stroud.