The introduction of driver only 36ft long single deck buses in the 1960s to replace conductor operated double deckers spawned a range of new and sometimes short-lived chassis. Blackpool standardised on the AEC Swift while Fylde chopped and changed. Ribble was a ardent Leyland supporter but turned to Bristol for its single deck bus orders from 1968 to 1971. The Bristol RE was one of the most resilient of the designs and outlasted most of its peers. It encouraged lorry (and occasional bus) builder Seddon to build a similarly inspired RU chassis that was somewhat less successful. Fylde 47 survives as an example.
Ribble’s last REs were a batch of 40 (331-370) with the common ECW body delivered between April 1971 and July 1972 with 366 (OCK366K) arriving in the latter month. It entered service at Preston depot but by its first birthday it moved to Aintree operating on Ribble’s Merseyside services. In 1985 after 12 years at Aintree it moved to Blackburn for a brief period before withdrawal at the end of the year.
366 and sister bus 365 were transferred within the National Bus Company to Hastings & District where they saw service numbered 465/466 until 1994. Retirement was active as both were acquired by the Hastings & District RE Group who held an operator’s license and used 466 and other REs on a local tourist service until its withdrawal in October 2000, though its sister was used for spares. Since then it has been stored securely in St Leonards, near Hastings and was offered to the LTT during 2007 and acquired in October.
In February 2008 it was prepared for the long journey north by Southdown PSV and returned back to Lancashire for the first time in 22 years. In November 2008, 366 was returned to 1970s style NBC poppy red livery and the bus returned to use during 2009.