Coventry Corporation Transport Society

Coach Connections

There were few coach services based outside Coventry that operated into or through Coventry in the days of Coventry Corporation Transport.  Some of those known are described here.

Ribble, Standerwick and Scout [1]

Gay Hostess

A Standerwick 'Gay Hostess' at Victoria Coach Station (Picture Curtesy of Claire Pendrous)

The most commonly seen services in and around Coventry after the opening of the M1 were operated by Standerwick, with their 'Gay Hostess' coaches. Later the same model was seen in the colours of both Ribble and Scout.

Ribble Motor Services were based in Preston.  In 1932 the company took over a Blackpool Company, Standerwick Motor Services, but allowed it to operate independently as its coach services arm, with Ribble concentrating on stage carriage services.  In 1961, Ribble also took over another Blackpool company, Scout Motor Servies.

In 1958, Britain's first stretch of motorway was opened and Standerwick was at the forefront of developments to maximise the potential of these new roads.  As a result the 'Gay Hostess' concept was introduced.  They were double-deck coaches equipped with toilets and refreshment facilities providing a fast and comfortable journey on the long distance routes to London.  The prototype vehicle was Ribble No. 1251 (MCK812), a Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with Weymann bodywork on a MCCW shell, seating 50 passengers in comfort and was tested throughout 1959.  Motorway express services started officially in April 1960.  Ten 'Gay Hostess' double-deck coaches were delivered to Standerwick in 1960 and a further 12 in 1961.  By 1963 all of the former Ribble double-deck coaches had been transferred from the parent company, although some went to another subsidiary, Scout Motor Services, who operated the service jointly with Standerwick.

The 'Gay Hostess' operated into London's Victoria Coach Station, and stood out from all the other operator's vehicles. Their application of the cream and maroon red was carefully applied, to give a coach of distinction. When introduced in the sixties, these vehicles were icons of the bus industry; yet during the winter months the majority were laid up for six months, de-licensed.

Although the 'Gay Hostess' service called at Coventry, the majority by-passed the City.  They could, however, be seen at regular intervals travelling along the A45 Fletchamstead Highway, en-route between London and the North West and vice versa.

[1] Peter Gould, http://www.petergould.co.uk/local_transport_history

Fawdon Bus Company Limited

The Fawdon Bus Company was an umbrella organisation running services operated by seven companies from the North East of England.

The Service ran daily from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Coventry and vice versa.  The service ran via Darlington, Leed, Barnsley, Chesterfield, Derby and Birmingham. The journey took about 10½ hours in each direction.