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Post by leyland4ever »

745  Private Buses  Morphettville  Opening Day  6-2-77
745 Private Buses Morphettville Opening Day 6-2-77
738  Elizabeth Depot 84  1-77
738 Elizabeth Depot 84 1-77
**These photos are lodged on behalf of C McManus, who has supplied the images.**

I realised when preparing these for posting, that it is now over 41 years ago!

As most users of this forum were not around at the time, perhaps a quick recap is in order.

Prior to 1974, the MTT (STA from 1975) operated buses within the Adelaide metropolitan area, mostly on their former tram routes (often extended after being replaced by buses), and a few routes which were always bus routes (eg Anzac Highway services to Somerton and Graymore).

The MTT also licensed private operators to run route services within the "MTT area" - these were usually areas of lower patronage, or on minor roads, which the MTT regarded as not economic for their own services.

Initially the MTT area basically covered the area trams had operated in, but was gradually extended and by 1974 included Elizabeth, Para Hills, and the north eastern suburbs.

Services outside this area were licensed by the Transport Control Board, whose main role was to protect the South Australian Railways from competition. (the complete opposite of today's "competition" policy.)

I believe an area in the Adelaide Hills, served by Choats and some other operators was not covered by either body!

In the early 1970s, several operators became concerned about their financial circumstances, and approached the MTT, and later the government, for a fare increase.

(The MTT set the fares on the routes they licensed)

The government would not agree to this, and after many discussions, there was an agreement for the government to take over the private routes and their buses, which were to be operated by the MTT (reluctantly on their part, I believe).

This came into force in February 1974. A few operators did not accept this initially and continued to operate as before, but within a few years, they too agreed to be taken over.

Lewis Brothers, who operated services to the Para Hills area, and a couple of new routes to Flagstaff Hill and Aberfoyle Park, handed their routes back to the MTT, but not their buses, and continued to operate as a charter operator.

The MTT had a week to find about 40 buses, prepare rosters etc. Fortunately, they had retained about that number of Leyland Worldmasters, withdrawn in 1972 when the last routes were converted to one man operation, as well as a few AEC three door buses, which had not found buyers.

Initially, the MTT left things as they had been, operating from the former private bus depots, using the same drivers etc.

A large order was placed for Volvo B59 chasses, which were to replace the former private buses, which consisted of a great variety of chasses and bodies.

The whole thing took a long time, and it was February 1974 before the travelling public would have noticed much difference.

On this date, the new Morphettville depot opened, and most of the former private depots closed, with the buses going either to the new Morphettville depot (along with a number of Swifts, as traditional MTT services were to be operated from M as well as the former southern areas private routes). leaving room at Hackney for the northern depots private buses to go there.

The former Transway depot in Elizabet South was retained, until later replaced by a new depot at the current location, and so was the Bowman's depot at Tea Tree Gully.

From about Easter 1976, a number of former private buses were painted into the MTT silver livery ( a small number had been done earlier, usually accident repairs etc), and later in the year, private dirvers began wearing the standard MTT uniform, and using the standard MTT ticket issuing equipment - Almex ticket stamping machines and Cambist change machines.

So the first photograph in this post is quite significant in historic terms. The buses I can make out belonged to (from the left - ex Servicemens -one silver and one in ES livery), Thomas Tours (2), Henstridge (silver), Henstridge (H livery), Harcourt Gardens (2), Coles (2), Campbells, Bridglands (with a special orange livery appied by the MTT after takeover to a few Bridglands buses), Bridglands (standard gold livery), and one silver bus which I can't make out).

Incidentally, the first photo, taken in Jan 1977 of the Elizabeth depot, is one of several in this series taken around this time - the photographer seems to have made a special effort to cover every private depot just before each closed (although Elizabeth did not close at this time).


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Post by leyland4ever »


The date in the sixteenth sentence of my posting above ("The whole thing took some time...) should be February 1977, not 1974.

I hope it makes some sense now!

My apologies - I should have picked up the error when I proofread the entry before posting, but carelessly, I did not.

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Post by 2MSJ »

Thanks Trevor, this is fantastic.

Incidentally before the buses were repainted, was it common to see a former private bus of one operator on the route of another former operator with all that variety in one depot?
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Post by paulgersche »

2MSJ wrote:Thanks Trevor, this is fantastic.

Incidentally before the buses were repainted, was it common to see a former private bus of one operator on the route of another former operator with all that variety in one depot?
Speaking purely from my personal recollection, I believe that it was not very common.

That said, however, I do have a pic somewhere of a bus in Cole's colours running a Glenalta service (Route 865, formerly operated by Ex-Servicemen's).

I have seen many pictures of former Bowman's vehicles operating on the 700+ series of routes (formerly Briscoe routes), plus a Henstridge Bedford SB operating on a former Morphett run out of the City to Clearview or Valley View - but all of these vehicles were repainted into the silver livery of the new regime.

These are just my recollections of the time as a youngster …

I am sure that more information will come to light in due course.

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