Grey-Green
image

A double-decker bus of Grey-Green purchased for privatised London bus services.

Service areaGreater London
Routes20
FleetLeyland Olympian
Scania N113
Leyland Lynx
Volvo B10M
Dennis Dart SLF

Grey-Green was a coach and bus operator in the United Kingdom. It was based in Stamford Hill, and can trace its origins back over a century to the foundation of George Ewer’s horse carriage business in 1885.

History[edit | edit source]

The business prospered, and summer-only services were soon operating to many South Coast resorts. Before the end of the nineteen twenties, East Anglia was well covered too. The first service to operate throughout the year was the London–Ipswich route, started in June 1928. The 1930s started with the introduction of a London–Harwich route, and operations continued to expand rapidly through East Anglia and to the coast, interrupted only by World War II. Routes run by the Prince Omnibus Company of Edmonton were added in the ’30s. Orange Luxury Coaches Ltd. was acquired in 1953, and this long-established company remained as a subsidiary of the main company until finally wound up in December 1975. Orange Luxury Coaches Ltd was based in Brixton, SW London and its vehicles carried the Royal crest, being suppliers of coaches to the royal household.

The large-but-ageing United Service Transport fleet was taken over in 1965. Several of the companies taken over retained their separate identities and distinctive liveries in order to maintain goodwill, but in 1966 it was decided to concentrate the group’s operations on two trading names: Grey-Green and Orange.[1] Subsequent acquisitions included the London coaching business of Birch Bros. Ltd. in 1971, Mitcham Belle Coaches in 1974, and Dix Coaches in 1976.[2] In 1980 Grey-Green was a founding member of the British Coachways consortium which competed with National Express Coaches, but pulled out after a year.[3]

As part of the Cowie Group, Grey-Green was one of the first private operators to operate London bus services following the process started with the privatisation of London bus services, eventually operating nearly 20 in all. In 1987 the company successfully bid for routes 125, 173, 179 and 379 (originally the 179A). In 1988 they began operating the 24, 298 and 313. Route 103 was taken over in 1991, and by 1994 the list had expanded to include the 20, 141, 167, 168, 210, 235, 275, 473 and D9. The high profile route 24—which passed along Whitehall—and route 188 to Euston Station brought non-red London buses directly into the City. Grey-Green also operated bus services in Kent, in Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Medway, and a commuter coach service from London.

The company’s basic livery was green and white (having evolved from the green and grey that gave Grey-Green its name). The coaching fleets were painted in separate liveries. Grey-Green bus livery was still in use as late as 1997 with new deliveries of Dennis Dart SLFs with Alexander ALX200 bodywork.[4] With the growth of the Cowie Group through acquisition of other bus operators, Grey Green co-existed for a time with other companies such as Kentish Bus.

Cowie Group eventually rebranded as Arriva, and Grey-Green's London operations were absorbed into Arriva London, and the other bus operations were absorbed by other Cowie group companies.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. History of Grey Green (George Ewer Group)
  2. Buses of Greater London Fleetbook, 1978 edition
  3. Townsin, Alan (1992). "Coach deregulation arrives", The British Bus Story - The Early '80s: The Die is Cast. The Transport Publishing Company, 22–24. ISBN 0-86317-170-2. 
  4. Image of a Grey-Green Dennis Dart ALX

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:Defunct British Bus Companies

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