Yellow minibuses in substitution for Charlies' green and white minibuses in Bournemouth in the 1980s

Yellow Flyers logo

Please note - this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information

Deregulation of local bus services in October 1986 brought changes and new competitive operators. Coach operators Shamrock & Rambler revived the name of their subsidiary company Charlie's Cars for a new activity, namely the operation of green and white minibuses on local services in and around Bournemouth, often traversing roads that had not seen buses before.  Neither Bournemouth Transport Yellow Buses nor Wilts & Dorset - the local incumbent bus operators - had yet considered substantive minibus operation, the latter not starting their Skipper minibuses until September 1987. In the same month interloper Badgerline started to operate a mix of full size vehicles and minibus routes as a local foray into this area (but only for just six months until Badgerline's abrupt withdrawal locally in March 1988).

The Charlie's Cars minibus operation expanded considerably in 1987 and grew to some 40 or more Ford Transit and Leyland Sherpa minibuses in and around Bournemouth and Poole. The new services gradually encroached upon some of Yellow Buses’ key routes, which eventually resulted in a robust response that would see Charlie’s Cars off in the end. As part of the government's sell-off of NBC companies Shamrock & Rambler were purchased by Drawlane, a subsidiary company of Endless Holdings of Salisbury, for £0.7 million pounds in July 1987.

Retrenchment started in September 1988 with the withdrawal of some Charlies Cars routes until final closedown and withdrawal of all services on 3rd December 1988. In part substitution Bournemouth Transport introduced five 'Yellow Flyer' minibus routes from 5th December 1988 using eight second hand 18-seater Sherpas previously with Ribble in Lancashire. Appropriately they were named after birds: Swift, Swallow, Heron, Kingfisher, Magpie, Robin, Wren and Chaffinch.  (As an aside, whilst parent company Shamrock & Rambler had a tradition of many years standing of naming their coaches this did not occur with their subsidiary Charlies Cars operation).

The Sherpas were subsequently replaced by some of a batch of twenty new 31-seater Mercedes midibuses bought in June 1989. With the routes focused largely like predecessor Charlie's Cars on the Hampshire Centre retail complex on the northern edge of town the Yellow Flyer initiative was to have an operational life of only nine months, ending at the beginning of September 1989. Flyer routes 36 and 37 covered what had been Charlie's Cars route B, the 39 covered the C whilst the 41 and 43 covered parts of the previous A and K. Each Flyer route operated hourly with the 36 and 37 combined giving a  half hourly frequency to Charminster and Bournemouth Square, and the 41 and 43 combined similarly giving a half hourly frequency to Kinson and High Howe.

List of Yellow Flyer routes December 1988
List of Yellow Flyer routes

Cover of December 1988 Yellow Flyer timetable leaflet
Cover of December 1988 Yellow Flyer timetable leaflet

Map of Yellow Flyer routes
top half of route map
bottom half of route map

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