When the UK bus industry was deregulated outside of London in October 1986 there was much concern at the instability that would prevail with reports of bus services constantly changing and passengers getting understandably confused. At Brighton & Hove we didnít believe it had to be that way and after the initial period of 4 months deregulation during which there was a freeze on changes to bus routes, the Company soon launched the first edition of Bus Times. Until then leaflets had been produced for each individual service as well as a bus map for the whole area. However, Bus Times brought the innovation of a high quality publication with clear and comprehensive coverage of timetables for all bus routes. A particularly welcome aspect was the fixed dates for publication and validity so that passengers could be confident all the information was valid and up to date.
The success of the early editions was soon recognised by other bus operators running buses in the area and Bus Times became the first commercially produced comprehensive timetable in the Country to include details of all bus routes irrespective of operator and available for a fixed period of time as well as maps, indexes, bus stop guides and details about tickets. Fifteen years later, the Government is encouraging others to follow this lead as an example of best practice.
Bus Times has consistently been produced at fixed intervals twice each year ever since and continues to include details of all bus services. Fifty to sixty thousand copies of each edition are published and distributed free of charge by direct mail to a large database of interested potential passengers as well as distribution on board buses through special dispensers and through local outlets across the City. A companion publication, Pocket Bus Times, has also been produced in similar quantities twice each year. This includes a comprehensive map and a guide to the frequencies of all bus routes which is handy to keep in a pocket when travelling around town.
Bus Times is still an example of best practice in the UK bus industry.
Over the years the covers have captured the spirit of the time showing the comprehensive nature of the network of bus routes, to integrated tickets, the introduction of bus priority measures, to the emphasis of bus use being appropriate for all different sections of the community. Between 2001 and 2011 the cover featured a stunning photograph taken by renowned and acclaimed photographer Roger Bamber who lives in Brighton.
Hereís a nostalgic look back at all the covers from 1987.