While the Bristol Omnibus Company was investing heavily in quantities of modern, front entrance one man operated double decks for its city services, the company had made it clear in the 1970s that it did not see a future for double decks on more rural routes. In other words, it would concentrate on single decks for country operations. Many in Stroud were baffled at and astounded by this announcement from the company’s Lawrence Hill head office. Yet, there was much logic in it, given the passengers numbers then travelling.So, with the withdrawal of the FLFs at Stroud in 1979, Bristol Omnibus’ plan for an all-single deck fleet was complete, at Stroud at least... almost. In 1978 there arrived 5512, at the time Stroud’s one and only modern, front entrance double deck. It was a Bristol VRT and was full at school times on its allocated duty.More double decks appeared in 1981, as a result of Bristol Omnibus’ Market Analysis Project. Had BOC get it wrong in withdrawing double decks from its country depots? Six new VRs joined the Stroud fleet that year. It had become more economical to reduce the peak vehicle requirement than concentrate on single decks only and this meant a return to double decks. They were used mainly to and from Nailsworth and Gloucester via Stroud (556, which became 553-556 and latterly 56 and 92/93) but the main purpose for this capacity was school pupils, not fair paying adults. The changes that required the reintroduction of double decks began in late July 1981. None of the ordered VRs were available and to tide Stroud depot over until their August arrival, Stroud borrowed six Bristol City Fleet VRs. In the event, the dual door buses did not last long. The new vehicles began arriving in August.Stroud's new single door VRs settled down to regular duties. There were, however, changes during the 1980s. At the time Swindon depot adopted a poppy red livery in 1983, some Stroud VRs were swapped with green liveried buses from Swindon. This was because a couple of Swindon's vehicles had been painted in a particular experimental long-life paint finish. As Stroud's buses were to remain in leaf green at that time, it seemed sensible to transfer across Swindon's green VRs to Stroud so that the tests could be completed.
Welcome return! 5538, new at Stroud but at the time of the shot with Stagecoach in Hampshire, sees service once again on the April 2003 Running Day