London Country Bus Services

Timetables and Publicity

LONDON TRANSPORT were masters of corporate publicity. That included posters for information as well as the promotional posters that have become famous. Good examples were the series suggesting that passengers should avoid the rush hour if they wanted a comfy journey.

LONDON COUNTRY continued to use posters in the same style for a while, before the dead corporate hand of the NBC intervened.

This section will be expanded in the future - but for now, enjoy this gem which is reproduced from the timetable books of 1972............


London Country One-man Buses Poster

A key point of contact with the passenger, or customer, has always been the timetable. At the point of take-over, London Country simply continued to produce timetables as books or bus stop notices in exactly the same style as they were previously. Only the operator's name differed. Timetable books were produced in two geographically-based series. The LOCAL TIMETABLES covered all services in the designated area, including Green Line, red buses, all competitors, trains, the UNDERGROUND and long-distance or NATIONAL EXPRESS. Quite why this should be is not explained, but it went back to the 1950's. Good local knowledge was covered as well, with street maps of the main towns, early-closing and market days and local parcels agents. The AREA TIMETABLES covered only the country buses, but all the Green Line routes and included all the town plans and a great deal of the other information that would have appeared in the local timetable. These books were only available at the garages and enquiry offices, unlike the others that would be for sale in local outlets. Special editions of the AREA TIMETABLE were produced for use by inspectors and they contained a wealth of proprietary information, such as emergency telephone numbers and the locations of emergency equipment.

The very first LOCAL TIMETABLES in 1970 were in a plain cover, identical to their London Transport forebears. From the next revision, however, a new identity was established. Successive editions were produced in more or less lurid covers that always changed and co-ordinated around the areas. I had a shelf full, mementos of Green Rover trips to far-flung parts of the empire, which I binned in the late 1970's when I lost interest in the Leyland National-dominated 'identifleet' of buses. A really silly move! These were in a unique style that did not fit the corporate model of National Bus Company constituents, so from 1973 onwards they were simply discontinued.

From this time the AREA TIMETABLES were rebranded in the NBC house style, although nothing else changed. London Country had been smartening these books up over the years, changing from a plain cover to a catchy graphical style featuring the latest vehicles in the fleet. My favourite was the 1971 edition that featured the new AEC Swifts, but the 1972 editions were also rather fine with an Atlantean and Green Line Swift. Publication of this series continued until 1978, at which point they were discontinued in favour of a new local series.

This series focussed upon the area, rather than the vehicles, and featured very attractive line drawings of local scenery or structures which were used to stamp a local image very firmly onto the product. A new, larger format allowed a larger and more friendly typeface to be used. Again, they were comprehensive for their area, but did not include trains as their predecessors had done.