The Bear Cross Bus Company project is an unashamedly nostalgic tribute to the buses that were formerly operated by Bournemouth Corporation Transport. I’ve lived in or close to Bournemouth for most of my life and, more specifically, my early years were spent in the Bear Cross area of Bournemouth. At this time, I would be regularly travelling on the Bournemouth buses using either the No. 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 40 bus routes (the route numbers changed a bit over the years), not to mention my No. 54 school bus.
For many years the Bournemouth Passenger Transport Association (BPTA) maintained a thriving bus museum and preservation program at the Mallard Road garage of Bournemouth Corporation Transport. At its height, a collection of over 30 motor and trolley buses was maintained for the benefit of the public. Sadly, the museum had to vacate the Mallard Road premises and despite valiant attempts to keep the museum together it suffered a gradual decline due to lack of suitable premises and funding. By 2011 a number of buses had been sold and the remainder were eventually rescued from outside storage by Dan Shear’s West of England Transport Collection in Devon. Since then virtually all of these buses have been placed with sympathetic owners who are once again restoring them.
The Bear Cross Bus Company project started in February 2014 with the aim of restoring, preserving and operating former Bournemouth Corporation Transport buses. The emphasis is not to create flawless show condition buses, but to restore them to a good operational standard, such that the public can once again enjoy travelling on them in Bournemouth and the wider Dorset area. The project is supported by a very limited number of committed supporters and volunteers. The project is a real labour of love for those concerned!
To see what is happening with each of our buses take a look at our “Meet the Fleet” page.