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Stagecoach Strathtay
Type Public
Founded 2005, formerly Strathtay Scottish Omnibuses
Headquarters Cowdenbeath, Fife
Area served Dundee, Arbroath, Blairgowrie, Forfar and Montrose
Website stagecoachbus.com/strathtay
Subsidiary of Stagecoach East Scotland. Brand name for services in the Angus area of Scotland.

Strathtay Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, in Scotland, was formed as a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group in June 1985 from Walter Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd and Walter Alexander & Sons (Northern) Ltd. It is a subsidiary of the Stagecoach Group and is now branded as Stagecoach Strathtay although Stagecoach have retained the right to the operating name Strathtay Scottish and this is reflected in the legal lettering on the fleet.

Operation

Since joining the Stagecoach Group, Stagecoach Strathtay now has an operating area bounded by Aberdeen in the north, Gauldry & Newport-on-Tay to the south and Perth to the west. Before joining Stagecoach, Strathtay operated only as far as Laurencekirk in the north, however, Montrose depot have acquired some work from Bluebird's Stonehaven depot. Including Service #24 from Brechin to Stonehaven, Service #103 from Laurencekirk to Aberdeen's Guild Street bus station and also a handful of School Contracts serving Mackie Academy in Stonehaven.

Strathtay is the largest operator in Angus and is responsible for urban, rural and interurban services in and around Dundee, Arbroath, Blairgowrie, Forfar (scheduled for closure in August 2008) and Montrose. Depots are also located in those towns. On its creation Strathtay was also the largest operator in Perth, Crieff and Pitlochry, but depots in those towns have long since closed and operations scaled back, ironically due to intensive Stagecoach competition at the time.

Strathtay also provide coaches for Scottish Citylink and Megabus express work, mainly from Perth and Dundee to other points in Scotland.

Although Strathtay's Head Office function at Dundee bus station has been closed down, there still remains a Booking/Depot Office at that site. Head Office function was been amalgamated with Stagecoach East Scotland (which also covers Fife and Perth operating areas) at Guthrie House in Cowdenbeath. On 18th May 2009, the Cowdenbeath head office was relocated to Evans House, John Smith Business Park, Kirkcaldy.

History

Strathtay Scottish was a brand new company created through reorganisation of the Scottish Bus Group in preparation for deregulation of the bus industry in 1986, and eventual privatisation. It inherited the eastern operations of Alexanders (Midland) based in Perth, Crieff, Blairgowrie and Pitlochry, as well as the southern operations of Alexanders (Northern) in Dundee, Forfar, Arbroath and Montrose. A bright blue and orange livery was adopted for the fleet, which would be controlled from Dundee.

The company would have a turbulent infancy, however, as Strathtay faced very heavy competition from local Perth-based firm, Stagecoach. Strathtay purchased a number of ex-London Transport Routemaster buses to counter the competition, which ironically also used a number of the same vehicle type on city services in Perth. A new Perth City Transport brand was created by Strathtay to compete with Stagecoach, using a mainly red livery with white. But as Stagecoach grew nationally it became financially stronger and had ready access to vehicles from the larger companies in England it had purchased. Strathtay could not sustain the level of intense competition that ensued, and in 1993 it closed its Perth depot. Crieff and Pitlochry also closed, and the company withdrew from the majority of services around these towns.

Perhaps because it was pre-occupied with protecting its market share in Perth, Strathtay did not take advantage of deregulation to launch a substantial city network in Dundee to compete against the city operator there.

Despite experiencing heavy and sustained competition on the lucrative city services in Perth, Strathtay managed to remain profitable on the run up to privatisation, and in June 1991 was sold to Barnsley-based Yorkshire Traction Ltd for £1.9m. Now trading simply as Strathtay Buses, the new owners established and maintained a working relationship with Stagecoach around Perth, even jointly operating the trunk service between Dundee and Perth with the national operator, while the remainder of the operations remained largely unchanged from privatisation.

On 14 December 2005, Strathtay's parent company Traction Group was purchased by Stagecoach for £26m. Strathtay is bordered to the north, east and south by Stagecoach subsidiaries, all part of Stagecoach East Scotland, which Strathtay has also joined. The Stagecoach corporate livery has been adopted for vehicles and initially, most displayed Strathtay - Part of the Stagecoach Group fleetnames, however almost all buses have now been re-branded with "Stagecoach Strathtay" They now have a Dundee football team in the city's Welfare League. Although, currently sitting bottom, the team is a young one with the average age being 16 years old. In the coming years, if the club stick together they may be a force to be reckoned with.

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