Saturday, 18 January 2014


We welcome Oliver Foreman to our new Features element of the Focus Transport website with this article about the demise of Doyle's Coaches.

Local councils and bus company move fast.

On Monday 13th January 2014, all seemed normal for the bus passengers who used the services of Doyle's Coaches, running tendered services for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils. Unfortunately, all was not well. For reason or reasons unknown to the general public, that night the 28 or so Doyle's buses were locked in their yard and did not go into service on the Tuesday.

Little do we know what went on behind the scenes, but the fact is that Nottinghamshire County Council in conjunction with Stagecoach East Midlands (the predominant bus operator in Mansfield) managed to get on the road buses to cover routes 17, 18 and 145 from the start of service on the Tuesday.

Before 10am, Nottinghamshire CC posted on their website details of what was happening to all the Doyle's services running on behalf of the Council. Well done!

Overnight, Stagecoach had to increase its Peak Vehicle Requirement at its Mansfield depot by at least 5 buses. Thus buses had to be brought in from the reserve fleet and drivers' schedules reorganised.

One of the buses hastily brought to Mansfield was ex Roadcar DAF X835 HFE here working the Sainsbury's free bus on 16 January.

Here is a Stagecoach Dart (with half a Mansfield Move branding!) on the ex Doyle's 17 service, photographed in Sutton-in-Ashfield bus station on 15 January.

 Another 17 photographed in Sutton bus station on 17 January.

The 17/18 route is not new to Stagecoach. The similar 8 route was once run commercially by the Company. This former Chesterfield Transport Mercedes minibus was photographed in Sutton-in-Ashfield bus station in 2001. The replacement tendered 17/18 was run by Veolia before passing to Doyle's.

An earlier version of what is now the 17 was run by Mark Kempin Travel in 1988. Picture taken in Sutton bus station by the late Richard Lomas. Our thanks to Kath Lomas for permission to use it.

Stagecoach have also taken over from Doyle's the 145 (Sutton - Kings Mill - Kirkby - Ravenshead - Blidworth). This picture was taken in Kirkby-in-Ashfield on 17 January. This tendered service has been run by a multitude of operators, including Stagecoach in the late 1990s. Before deregulation in 1986, it was operated by Butler Bros.The route around the upmarket estate in Ravenshead is very complicated! Drivers have been known to become totally disorientated amongst the mansions and Jaguars.
The many operators who have run the 143/145 include Trent who used this branded Mercedes. This photograph was taken in 2001 in Mansfield bus station. The service no longer reaches Mansfield.
Another Wellglade subsidary, Midland General, ran the service in 2010. Photograph taken in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

Despite best efforts, two tendered routes in Mansfield (4 and 19) did not operate on Tuesday and Wednesday. At least the electronic display in Mansfield bus station informed people that they were not running. It was interesting to see what would turn up on Thursday on those routes.

And here we are . . .

For its first journey on the 19 at 1020, this Notts CC midibus waits on the stand.

First away was this vehicle on the 1020 departure on the 4 route to Forest Town and Woodhouse. Both vehicles had tiny cards in the windscreen indicating which route they were on.

Later in the day, the bus comes down Berry Hill Road on the 19 service. There are no passengers on this very lightly used service.  Both buses finish their duties in Mansfield before 3pm. Presumably, before and after they have school commitments, possibly in Nottingham.

Doyle's used a double decker on the 19 (despite the few passengers) as it did a school run in Mansfield morning and afternoon. It is not clear which company is currently covering that run.

Doyle's Coaches was formed in 1986, the year of deregulation, by husband and wife team Kevin and Helen Doyle. Their first contract with Derbyshire County Council was a taxi-bus service between Pentrich and Street Lane. Further contracts were added, including some for Nottinghamshire County Council from 2003. The fleet grew to about 28 buses, mainly low floor Dennis Darts and Optare Solos as well as two Dennis Trident double deckers. Whatever the reasons, it is sad for the drivers and management that a firm with such a good reputation should cease trading so abruptly.

Above text and images provided by Oliver Foreman

Now one example from the 'new order' over the border in Derbyshire, where Yourbus took on most of the routes in the Alfreton/Ripley areas.

Here one of the Yourbus fleet of Wrightbus DF Streetlites pulls out of Peasehill Road towards Ripley Town Centre, bound for Alfreton. This had normally been the preserve for Doyle's Dart MPDs and Optare Solos. Like the Stagecoach buses at Mansfield, electronic displays had been programmed and featured route number and destination.

But we are not quite finished, as there follows a brief pictorial history of most of the Doyle's operations in Derbyshire, images in route number order.

Route 59 Derby & Ilkeston

Route 78 Hartington & Calow

Route 81 Markham Vale & Bolsover

Route 113 Belper & Ashbourne

Route 140 Matlock & Alfreton

Route 141 Matlock & Ripley

Route 143 Belper & Ripley

Route 144 Crich & Ripley

Route 147 Marehay & Pentrich

Route 148 Alfreton & Codnor

Route 152 Alfreton & Meadow Lane

Route 214 Matlock & Sheffield

Route 331 Alfreton & Nottingham

Route 585 Chesterfield & Whitwell schooldays only

And finally a trio of images within the confines of the depot in Alfreton



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