Fylde Borough Transport was privatised in 1986 and under the branding of “Blue Buses” the operation expanded with both contract work around the Fylde coast and direct competition with Blackpool
Transport. The operation remained under Fylde council control until 1993 but was then purchased by Blackpool Transport the following year and the operations consolidated.
Following on from the refurbishment of mid-1970s Atlanteans by Northern Counties, “Blue Buses” embarked on perhaps its most radical refurbishment; rebuilding four long wheelbase Leyland Atlanteans. They had been new to Bradford Corporation as trolleybus replacements, but had ended up at Hull, a source of many second hand Atlanteans for Blue Buses. They were acquired and driven to a breakers in Barnsley who removed the bodies. The chassis were then delivered to Fylde in early 1992, overhauled and then despatched to Northern Counties to be rebodied as single decks with their contemporary “Paladin” style.
Numbered 4-7, the first of the buses entered service in June 1993. Intended for trunk routes 11/11A they allowed the withdrawal of the 18-year old Bristol REs. Unfortunately their capacity was too low and in early 1994 they were moved onto quieter routes. On takeover by Blackpool Transport in 1994 they became 134-137 in their numbering system and were repainted in their green & cream livery. However, they soon were relegated to occasional use as new low floor Optare Excels arrived.
During 1997 they regularly ran on the Promenade Service 1, releasing double deckers for school work and were delicensed at the end of October. Their first of several reprieves occurred courtesy of the Blackpool Tramway which required partial bus replacement in December. All four were reinstated once again in May 1998 to work summer services from Squires Gate. They tended to flit between the two depots according to driver availability for the Zoo service 21 and a third retirement took place in December 1998 after a rather unproductive November.
The next reprieve in June 1999 saw the batch once again in use on the Promenade service but this time from Rigby Road. This was short-lived for at the end of August 1999 they were withdrawn and sold to a dealer in October, ending an unusual and somewhat unproductive career.
7 passed to an independent operator but was acquired for preservation and now awaits restoration.