Wilts & Dorset double-decker buses were red and Hants
& Dorset double-decker buses were green and both companies operated in
Blandford. This was during an era when there was a proper bus network in Dorset.
Bus timetables rarely changed from year to year and apart from Summer Saturdays
there were few problems of traffic congestion in the county. With their open
platforms at the rear, each double-decker had both a driver and a conductor.
Between Salisbury and Weymouth via Dorchester there was a
daily (no.34) hourly service operated
jointly by Wilts & Dorset and Weymouth based, Southern National.
Blandford’s bus station could be found just south of the Salisbury Road railway
bridge and right next to a fish & chips shop.
Hants & Dorset ran two routes to Bournemouth. One from
Blandford was via Corfe Mullen (10) while
the other (24), originating from
Shaftesbury, journeyed via Blandford and Wimborne to Bournemouth. However, the
latter took an interminably long time to get to its destination. During Summer
Saturdays a second ‘relief bus’ would
frequently be added on these popular routes to the seaside. Hants & Dorset
had been founded with just four silver painted ‘charabancs’ which were all requisitioned by the military during
World War I.
Hants & Dorset’s green buses were based in Exeter Road, Bournemouth close to the Square in the town’s bus & coach station. In July 1976, fire tore through this Bournemouth landmark making it a total write-off. Then, in 1983, in preparation for the denationalisation of the industry, the name of Hants & Dorset disappeared. The company name of Hants & Dorset, affectionately nicknamed ‘Pants & Corsets’, was no more!