UK Transport Wiki
South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach
HeadquartersPatchway, Bristol
Service areaBristol
South Gloucestershire
Service typeBus, Coach
Routes3 Local, 7 National Express, 40 School Services
Fuel typeDiesel
Web site

SGBC Ltd t/a South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach operate a number of bus services in the Bristol area. The majority of their bus services are school routes operated on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and the Cabot Learning Federation, as well as a number of National Express services from the Bristol area. Peak time commuter services are also operated from the north Bristol fringes into the city centre.


South Gloucestershire can trace its history back to 1982 when Roger Durbin set up operations as Durbin’s Coaches. After steadily expanding over the years the operations began to attract the attention of Badgerline Holdings and during 1994 Durbin’s Coaches were taken over by the Bristol Omnibus Company.[1]

Roger Durbin was imposed with a restriction to start operating again in the Bristol area for 3 years as part of the agreement for the sale. Whilst Roger Durbin left the company, Tony Lavoie, the marketing manager stayed with the company, moving to City Line's Lawrence Hill depot as the general manager for the Durbin operations.

After a few months Lavoie left to start up his own bus company, Leisure Travel. By 1997, with a fleet of 24 vehicles, Roger Durbin returned to the industry as a partner in the business, and in 1998 the company began trading as South Gloucestershire Bus Company with a blue and white livery. Also during 1998 the pair purchased a local taxi firm which they renamed South Gloucestershire Taxi Company with a similar fleet name as the bus business. Durbin took on the bus side of the business while Lavoie looked after the running of the taxi company. During 1999 the original Durbin’s Coaches business was re acquired from First Bristol, who had continued to trade as Durbin’s Coaches and then First Durbins as a ‘low cost’ unit within First.

File:K327 PHT.PNG

K327 PHT

The company rapidly expanded over the next few years winning various tenders for supported services from South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council, at one point even operating service 620 from Bath to Stroud. During 2003 the goodwill and custom as well as the majority of the fleet of Eastville Coaches was bought from the proprietor Mr Phillips. With the Eastville goodwill came a lucrative entrance to National Express contracts. A number of vehicles were brought into to update the Eastville fleet but after 18 months the original Eastville Coaches began trading again and the SGBC Eastville Coaches fleet were painted plain white with ‘A Durbin Group Company’ tagline.

Also during 2003 the taxi operation was separated from the bus operation, which saw Lavoie leave the fold, he now works for Bristol coach operator Eurocoaches.

The company continued to expand, picking up contracts with the University of the West of England for student transport, Orange & Axa for staff shuttles, National Express for Rail Replacement and coach service contracts and further tenders from Bristol City & South Gloucestershire Councils. The fleet was made up of mainly second hand vehicles such as Leyland Lynx and Leyland Titans, and Volvo B10Ms for the coach fleet. There were two Dennis Dart SLFs that were new to Durbin in 2003 for Orange and UWE work. It was revealed in 2007 that the South Gloucestershire fleet was the most un environmentally-friendly bus fleet in the country with an emission level of 15.79 g/kW.[2]

Sale to Rotala[]

In 2007 the bus side of the company was sold to Rotala Group subsidiary Flights Hallmark. The sale included 68 buses for the price of £1.26 million and the right to operate the routes they were used on for a further £600,000. The takeover was completed in stages and everything was finalized by the 31st March 2008. It was stated at the time that the assets being acquired had an annual turnover of £4.2 million pounds.[3]

The business was slowly rebranded as Wessex Connect, however the majority of the vehicles that Rotala purchased stayed in South Gloucestershire livery. They were gradually disposed of as and when Rotala were able to replace them with suitable low floor vehicles. Most of the low floor vehicles from the SGBC fleet were painted white and ended up with Rotala group company Central Connect.

After the sale to Rotala, SGBC were left with school services, the 462 commuter service and the Axa 101 service, that both interworked with school services. The fleet has been continually updated since the sale in 2007 with more modern coaches and further second hand buses. All coaches are now white with a new South Gloucestershire fleet name in silver, and school vehicles are gradually being painted into an all over yellow scheme inspired by the purchase of a former Plymouth Citybus school vehicle. The blue livery is no longer a familiar site on the streets of Bristol, as now a large proportion of the bus fleet carry the overall yellow livery.

National Express[]

In March 2007, South Gloucestershire began operating three weekend journeys that were introduced on service 040 between Bristol and London, due to increased passenger numbers on this route. In the months leading up to this, the company was providing regular duplicate coaches on the 040 route and also other routes such as the 403 from Bath to London and on cross country services from the South West. Following this, in December 2007, South Gloucestershire were awarded the contract for the seasonal 319 Bristol to Birmingham route which ran non stop, it was introduced to meet demand over the festive period until January 2008. A few months later in March 2008, several more additional weekend journeys were added to service 040 and these were once again awarded to South Gloucestershire.

In Autumn 2008 South Gloucestershire were awarded their first full-time National Express contract operating the 200. This was picked up from First Coaches who handed in the contract, with most of their drivers transferring across with the contract under the TUPE agreement. South Gloucestershire began operating the route in September 2008, however First Coaches continued to operate some journeys until October 2008 when South Gloucestershire took over full-time operation. Initially the service was worked by the existing vehicles, until a fleet of 7 new tri axle Scania K340EB6/Caetano Levante were delivered specifically for the service.

A further three Scania K340EB6/Caetano Levante joined the fleet in 2009 from the National Express owned operations. Following the arrival of these SGBC picked up their second full-time contract, the 040, also won from First Coaches. The majority of the drivers also transferred across with the service, which was worked by the 9 Levantes seeing the coaches formerly used on the 200 going back to that route.

A further service was picked up in mid 2010, the 402/3 routes from Bath were won after First Somerset & Avon handed in the contract, the drivers were given the option to TUPE across or stay with First on service work. To work these routes a batch of 12 Volvo B9R/Caetano Levantes were ordered to be split between 5 for the 200 and 7 for the 402/3. However due to issues regarding delivery the start date had to be pushed back a few months and eventually they were delivered for an August start with the service starting a few weeks before and being covered by second hand purchases. Additionally during this time, older coaches not designed for National Express work were making regular appearances. Most notably on the 200 route due to the fact that this route avoided the London Low Emissions Zone and these older coaches were not LEZ compliant.

In May 2011 the Friday and Sunday only service 318 between Bristol and Birmingham was awarded following a contract renewal which saw the route taken on from Applegates Coaches. A few months later in August 2011 following the collapse of Hookways Of Meeth, South Gloucestershire were awarded the contract for service 339 between Westward Ho and Grimsby and service 502 between Westward Ho and London. Vehicles that work the Devon services can often been seen parked up overnight in Barnstaple.

January 8, 2012 saw SGBC take up the contract for National Express for the 444 service that runs from Gloucester to London. This was previously operated by Stagecoach West's Gloucester depot. For the service a further batch of Volvo B9R/Caetano Levantes have been delivered with 4 so far seen in service (FJ61GZE/F/G/H). A further four Levantes (FJ12FXF/G/L/H) then arrived during May 2012 which allowed most Nat Ex services to be worked by Levantes. From time to time it is not unusual to see older vehicles covering for vehicles off the road or providing extra capacity during busy periods.

In January 2013, operation of service 444 was largely transferred to Bennets Coaches(although SGBC continue to work some journeys) with SGBC gaining additional journeys on service 403 which were added to the timetable at this point.

Also, in January 2013, SGBC gained a further National Express contract for service 330 between Penzance and Nottingham after the previous operator Premiere Travel went into administration. This service is worked by Bristol based drivers who work between Bristol to Penzance or Bristol to Nottingham

In addition to the full-time Nat Ex work, services to special events at locations such as Reading Festival, Glastonbury and Wembley are also operated from the South West & Wales and mainly uses vehicles from the private hire or Nat Ex spares fleet.

File:National Express 7102 Caetano Levante FJ08 KNW Metrocentre 2009 pic 1.JPG

A National Express Caetano Levante coach

South Gloucestershire have a varied fleet of National Express coaches that includes:

  • 8 DAF SB4000/Van Hool Alizee 3 as spare in all over white.
  • 9 Scania K340/Caetano Levante
  • 20 Volvo B9R/Caetano Levante
  • 2 Scania K114/Van Hool Alizee 1 as spare in all over white.
  • 1 Volvo B12B/Plaxton Panther

South Gloucestershire currently operate nine National Express routes.

  • Service 040 from Bristol to London direct.
  • Service 200 from Bristol to Gatwick Airport via Reading and Heathrow Airport.
  • Service 318 from Bristol to Birmingham via Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa
  • Service 330 from Penzance to Nottingham.
  • Service 339 from Westward Ho! to Grimsby.
  • Service 402 from Frome to London via Trowbridge, Newbury & Heathrow Airport.
  • Service 403 from Bath to London via Swindon & Heathrow Airport.
  • Service 444 from Gloucester to London via Cheltenham & Stroud
  • Service 502 from Barnstaple to London.

Bus routes[]

At the present time, South Gloucestershire's only scheduled bus services are the 462 and 462A [4] routes, which run at peak hour times from Emersons Green, Mangotsfield and Bromley Heath to either Bristol Temple Meads Station or Clifton Triangle via Bristol City Centre. Service 462A operates on school days only and comprises one single journey from Temple Meads to Emersons Green via Downend. Prior to April 2011 a morning journey from Downend to Temple Meads operated on this route.

Additionally, service 680 [5] which runs during term time from North Corner to SGS Filton via North and South Yate, Coalpit Heath and UWE is also available for use by the general public although the service only operates during term time.

South Gloucestershire also operate route 101 for Friends Life. This service is also a peak time only service with four return runs in the morning and 5 return runs in the evening. The service runs from Axa at Parkway, near Stoke Gifford, to Lewins Mead in Bristol City Centre via the A4174 and M32. This service is not available to the general public.

Because routes are often interworked with school services so yellow school buses are generally used to operate the public services, although certain services can also be worked by National Express branded coaches returning to the depot. For example afternoon workings on the 101 service from the Centre sometimes see a Nat Ex coach used on its way back to the depot, instead of running much of the same route to the depot empty.

South Gloucestershire are the official provider of transport for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and operate two routes each year. Buses run from Temple Meads Station to the Fiesta Site via Bristol city centre every 10 minutes from around 9 am until 11 pm across four days. A second service operates hourly from Clifton Down to the Fiesta site. It's worth noting that the same services are operated for the Bris Fest at the same site.

School Services[]

In total 40 school services are currently operated, split between:

  • John Cabot Academy (11) [6]
  • Cabot Learning Federation Link (1)
  • Ashton Park School [7] (3)
  • Marlwood School (9)
  • The Castle School (2)
  • Marlwood & Castle (1)
  • UWE & Filton College (1)
  • Katherine Lady Berkeley (2)
  • Yate Sixth Form Link (1)
  • Wellsway School (1)
  • Backwell School (1)
  • Mangotsfield School (1)
  • Concorde Partnership (1)
  • Winterboune International Academy [8](4)
  • The Ridings Federation Link (1)
  • QEH
  • Bristol Grammar School
  • Colston Girls School
  • Redland High School

Most of the services are interworked with each other, for example the Wellsway, Mangotsfield School, Winterbourne International Academy and UWE and Filton College routes are interworked with the John Cabot routes. John Cabot routes are also interworked with the 462 and 101 routes. South Gloucestershire's school bus routes use a mixture of single and double decker buses which breakdown a lot and seem to smell. Also a student on a South Gloucestershire bus made an alarming discovery of having 4x the amount of carbon monoxide inside the bus than is, on average, in the the air normally.Template:Or Although results are not extremely reliable this is still a shocking discovery. It is also not un common to see Wessex Connect vehicles in use of school routes when South Gloucestershire are stretched for demand. (Reported due to Deborah Durbin removing)

See also[]

  • Bus services in Bristol


  1. Bristol Omnibus takeover Durbins Coaches. (Retrieved 27 March 2012)
  2. The worst-ranked operator surveyed for emissions,. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)
  3. Rotala buys in the West Midlands & South West. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)
  4. 462 Timetable. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)
  5. 680 Timetable. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)
  6. John Cabot School service. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)
  7. Ashton Park School service. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)
  8. Winterboune International Academy services. (Retrieved 12 November 2012)

External links[]

Template:Bus companies in South West England