It was business as usual when Blackpool Transport replaced Blackpool Corporation in 1974 under the recently appointed manager Derek Hyde. The last of the 55 AEC Swifts was entering service and more than half of the 13 One Man Operated (OMO) Trams introduced from 1972-1976 had similarly rescued the economics of year round operation of the sole surviving Promenade tram route. With operation of OMO single deckers now at their practical extent, consideration turned to buying double deck buses that could be similarly operated to convert further services. As a result no less than 64 Leyland Atlanteans replaced most of the remaining Leyland Titans between 1977 and 1984. These impressive vehicles seated up to 86 – compared to just 52 seats in the early post war double deckers.
Unlike most operators, Blackpool retained conductors on some of its busy routes – indeed the last bus route (the 14) kept them until 2000. As a result its last Leyland Titans soldiered on until 1988 by which time they were over 20 years old. They had been joined by 13 new to London Transport Routemasters between 1986 and 1989 and these survived, in mainly summer only use, until 1996.
Local bus services were deregulated and opened to competition in 1986 and Blackpool and Fylde battled for territory – and both made gains from Ribble. As part of their armoury Blackpool purchased 35 Optare City Pacer minibuses seating 19 seats – one fewer seat than the first buses of 1921. It purchased Fylde in 1994 and absorbed it completely in 1996 taking the fleet total to 208 buses. It has since rationalised operations, closing the former Fylde depot in 1999 and reducing the fleet size to 153.
From 2001 to 2010 buses ran under the Metro Coastlines banner with individual liveries for each route and the green and cream livery favoured since 1933 was dropped. Since 2010 the Blackpool Transport name has returned to use and a standard livery using black and yellow (favoured for minibuses since 1987) has been adopted.
Click on the links on the right to read more about each bus.