Scottish Motor Traction

Last updated

Scottish Motor Traction (SMT) was founded in Edinburgh in 1905 by William Johnston Thomson. [1] It operated buses in much of central Scotland. Aside from its traditional bus operations, it operated an air taxi service with a De Havilland Fox Moth between 18 July and 31 October 1932 and for many years owned Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. Following legislation, which allowed railway companies to invest in bus operators, the London & North Eastern Railway and London, Midland & Scottish Railway took a major stake in SMT in 1929. In 1930, following the takeover of another operator, SMT started its Edinburgh to London express coach service. SMT also acquired control of Walter Alexander & Sons bus services and coachbuilding operations, the Alexander family joining the SMT board.

SMT grew partly through the acquisition of smaller companies. Operations were decentralised to local areas, such as Central SMT in Lanarkshire, and Western SMT in south-west Scotland (both with red buses), whilst the east of Scotland services operated as SMT (with green buses). Upon nationalisation of the SMT group's bus and coach services by the Attlee government in 1949, those of SMT itself were transferred to a new British Transport Commission subsidiary, Scottish Omnibuses Limited, which continued to operate as "SMT" until the early 1960s, when the fleet name "Eastern Scottish" was adopted. Meanwhile, the non bus operating activities remained in private hands as SMT Sales & Service Limited.

Following the demise of the British Transport Commission, the SMT operations became part of the state-owned Scottish Bus Group in 1962; this later became the Scottish Transport Group in 1969 following the addition of ferry services.

The Transport Act 1985 led to the deregulation of bus services across the United Kingdom, followed by privatisation of the bus-operating Scottish Transport Group subsidiaries. Western Scottish (formerly Western SMT) was sold to its local management in 1991, and was bought out by the Stagecoach Group in 1994, which renamed it Stagecoach West Scotland. The ferry services, run as Caledonian MacBrayne remain owned by the Scottish Government.

Following privatisation, Eastern Scottish briefly reverted to its former name SMT. It was bought out by GRT Group in October 1994.

In June 1995 GRT Group and Badgerline merged to create First Bus. Soon after this, SMT was split into two, with operations passing to neighbouring Lowland and Midland Bluebird, although the SMT name and livery were initially retained. In 1999 the former SMT operations, along with those of Lowland and Midland Bluebird, were rebranded as First Edinburgh.

These were then sold on in 2022 with the Lowland Operations being sold to West Coast Motors who rebranded as Border Buses and Midland Bluebird Operations were sold to McGills Group who rebranded as Midland Bluebird by McGills and Eastern Scottish by McGills

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Express</span> Transport company headquartered in Birmingham, England

National Express Group is a British multinational public transport company headquartered in Birmingham, England. It operates bus, coach, train and tram services in the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Germany, Bahrain, and Morocco and long-distance coach services across Europe. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

FirstGroup plc is a British multi-national transport group, based in Aberdeen, Scotland. The company operates transport services in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Stagecoach Group is a transport group based in Perth, Scotland. It operates buses, express coaches and a tram service in the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scottish Citylink</span>

Scottish Citylink is a long-distance express coach operator in Scotland and Ireland and England. The company was formed as a subsidiary of Scottish Transport Group in March 1985. It is operated as a 63/37 joint venture between ComfortDelGro and Stagecoach.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scottish Bus Group</span> Scottish business

The Scottish Bus Group (SBG) was a state-owned group of bus operators covering the whole of mainland Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clydeside Scottish</span> Scottish Transport Group bus operating subsidiary

Clydeside Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from Western SMT Company Ltd. The company operated until May 1989, when it was remerged with Western Scottish, the successor company to Western SMT.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern Scottish</span>

Eastern Scottish Omnibuses Ltd. was a bus and coach operator based in Edinburgh, Scotland and a subsidiary of the Scottish Bus Group. Eastern Scottish was formed in June 1985 from the main part of Scottish Omnibuses Ltd., which had itself traded as 'Eastern Scottish' since the 1960s. Following privatisation in 1990 the company traded as 'SMT' reviving the original name of the company. It operated until 1994, when it became part of GRT Bus Group plc.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kelvin Scottish</span> Bus operating subsidiary

Kelvin Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group based in Bishopbriggs, Strathclyde, Scotland. It was formed in March 1985 from parts of Walter Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd and Central SMT, initially with six depots and a varied fleet of 381 vehicles.

Lowland Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was a bus operator in south eastern Scotland and parts of Northern England. The company was formed in 1985 and operated under the identities Lowland Scottish, Lowland and First Lowland / First SMT, until 1999 when the company's operations were combined with the operations of Midland Bluebird in a new company, First Edinburgh Ltd. As of 26 March 2017 these operations were transferred to West Coast Motors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Midland Scottish</span> British bus operating company

Midland Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from part of W. Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd, and operated until 1991 when it was renamed Midland Bluebird Ltd.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stagecoach Bluebird</span> Scottish bus operating company

Stagecoach Bluebird is a Scottish bus company which operates bus services in the areas of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray. It is a subsidiary of the Stagecoach Group.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stagecoach Strathtay</span>

Stagecoach Strathtay is a Scottish bus operating company which covers the Dundee and Angus areas, and parts of Grampian. It is a subsidiary of the Stagecoach Group, which bought Strathtay Scottish Omnibuses Ltd as part of Yorkshire Traction in 2005. Strathtay Scottish was formed in 1985 as a subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group, from parts of Walter Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd and Walter Alexander & Sons (Northern) Ltd. Stagecoach have retained the right to the operating name Strathtay Scottish; this is reflected in the legal lettering on the company's vehicles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western Scottish</span>

Western Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, in Scotland, was a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from Western SMT Company Ltd and operated until 1997, when it became Western Buses Ltd. This successor company is now a part of Stagecoach West Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buchanan bus station</span>

Buchanan bus station is the main bus terminus in Glasgow, Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">First Scotland East</span> British bus operator

First South East & Central Scotland, formerly known as First Scotland East, was an operator of both local and regional bus services in Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Fife, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and West Lothian, as well as the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. It was a subsidiary of FirstGroup, which operates bus, rail and tram services across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern National Omnibus Company</span>

Eastern National was a bus company operating in south-east England, primarily in Essex, from 1929 to the 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GRT Group</span> Former bus operating company in the United Kingdom

GRT Group was a bus operating company in the United Kingdom from 1989 until 1995. It was formed when Grampian Regional Transport (GRT) was privatised. It went on to purchase a number of bus companies in England and Scotland. In April 1994, GRT Group was listed on the stock exchange, and in June 1995 merged with Badgerline to form FirstBus.

Julian Peddle is an entrepreneur who has worked in the bus industry since the early 1980s, having owned or part-owned numerous bus companies. He spent 11 years as co-owner of Stevensons of Uttoxeter between 1983 and 1994, having previously been its traffic manager. During the late 1990s and early 2000s he ran Status Group, a group of small bus companies spread across England which included BakerBus, Choice Travel and MK Metro. He was a major shareholder in Tellings-Golden Miller and Centrebus Holdings before their sale to Arriva.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">First South Yorkshire & Midlands</span>

First South Yorkshire & Midlands is an operating unit of FirstGroup operating in the English Midlands and South Yorkshire. The unit was formed in 2008 with the merger of the management and administration of First Potteries, First Worcester and First Leicester. On 1 June 2020, First Midlands merged with First South Yorkshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scottish Omnibuses</span> Defunct bus operator in Scotland

Scottish Omnibuses Ltd. (SOL) was a company set up by the British Transport Commission on 4 April 1949 to take over the bus and coach operations of Scottish Motor Traction (SMT) and its subsidiaries under the nationalisation provisions of the Transport Act 1947. SMT itself remained in private hands, continuing its motor sales, service and insurance businesses. SOL took over the holding of SMT's former subsidiary companies, while those buses and coaches it operated directly continued to use the SMT brand until the early 1960s, when, after a brief flirtation with "Scottish", the fleet name "Eastern Scottish" was adopted.


  1. "William Johnston Thomson - Graces Guide".