Number 11, a Willowbrook bodied Bedford YRT, new in 1977, in Maidstone High Street, in fiesta blue livery and borough council markings, with a Duple bodied Bedford in the background
|Parent||Maidstone Borough Council Transport|
Boro'line Maidstone, previously Maidstone Borough Council Transport was the municipal bus operator in Maidstone and the surrounding villages. Maidstone Borough Council Transport was formed in 1974 from Maidstone Corporation Transport following local government reorganisation. In 1986 Boro'line Maidstone was formed as an arm's length company of Maidstone council from the operations of Maidstone Borough Council Transport. The company had a brief London operation. Following financial difficulties, the London operation was sold to Kentish Bus, and after a period of administration, Boro'line Maidstone was sold to Maidstone & District in 1992.
Maidstone Borough Council Transport
In 1974, Maidstone Corporation became Maidstone Borough Council Transport, following reorganisation of local government which extended the council's reach into Maidstone. This coincided with the retirement of the general manager of the organisation, leading to a policy shift to replace the fully double deck fleet inherited from Maidstone Corporation with lightweight single deckers.
In 1976 the network was revised following the opening of the Stoneborough Centre Bus Station. 1977 saw completion of full conversion to one man operation as double deck operation ceased. 1978 saw the introduction of route numbers to the expanding network, coordinated with Maidstone & District (M&D).
Maidstone Area Bus Services
On 9 August 1981, Maidstone Borough Council services were integrated with that of M&D under the banner "Maidstone Area Bus Services", with a yellow on black hop barn motif. This was as a result of one of the National Bus Company's Market Analysis Projects (MAP). The MAP analysis resulted in the major alteration of services, seeing some swapping and diversion of routes and the extension of Maidstone Borough routes outside the borough to southern villages. This also saw closure of M&D's Maidstone depot in Knightrider St.
Deregulation and London expansion
On and from 26 October 1986, as a result of the 1985 Transport Act, Maidstone Borough Council's transport interests had to be divested into arm's length but council-owned companies, with Maidstone Borough Transport (Holdings) Ltd and other subsidiaries trading under the Best Impressions-inspired Boro'line Maidstone branding with a new yellow/blue livery.
Boro'line was launched on 27 October 1986 with a guest appearance from 'Inspector Blakey' from TV's 'On the Buses'.
The co-ordinated Maidstone Area Bus Services arrangement was terminated as the same 1985 Transport Act outlawed such arrangements, the UK's bus operators being forced to compete with each other in the new deregulated environment. Thus NBC-owned East Kent, similarly-owned Maidstone & District and Boro'line, along with local private operators such as Nu-Venture and Farleigh Coaches who started local bus operation, ended up as competitors.
Almost immediately after de-regulation, Maidstone & District (M&D) was sold to its management, as the wide-ranging 1985 Transport Act was also used to break up the state-owned National Bus Company, and M&D soon sold its Maidstone Bus Station/outstation property, and rented space for an outstation at Boro'line's Armstrong Rd depot.
Meanwhile, seeking expansion, Boro'line saw that opportunities lay mainly outside the traditional operating area. Thus, as well as moving on a large scale into coach operation, Boro'line was from 16 January 1988 an early participant in the new London Buses route tendering post-deregulation system (see article Boro'line (London)).
In 1989, Boro'line posted a loss of £1.25 million, and by October 1991 the council decided to try to sell the company. M&D were not short listed as a potential buyer despite their interest.
Facing possible competition from the new buyer, in 1991 M&D relocated its Maidstone outstation from the Boro'line Armstrong Road depot to a site near Maidstone West railway station, and registered new routes on several of Boro'line's routes. In response Boro'line started routes to Chatham and Cranbrook, and local Medway routes. This was not successful due to unpopularity of Boro'lines single deck buses, and M&D's ownership of the Pentagon bus station in Chatham.
On 17 February 1992, the London operation was sold to Kentish Bus. Two days later, Boro'line was placed into administration. On 29 May 1992, after set-backs with repossession of 5 front-line buses (including Leyland Lynxes) due to lease payments not being made, Boro'line ceased operations.
The company, along with the Armstrong Road depot was sold to M&D for just under £1 million by the administrators. M&D disposed of the Boro'line fleet and absorbed all routes under its own identity.
The fiesta blue Maidstone Corporation bus livery persisted into the Maidstone Borough Council era, with buses receiving The Maidstone Borough Council fleetnames.
In 1979 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Maidstone municipal transport, the ochre colour scheme previously used by Maidstone Corporation was painted onto a single decker, which later became the standard livery into the era of single deck Maidstone Area Bus Services operation. Notably, most M&D vehicles did not acquire the MABS logo, due to the probability of the operating from depots other than Maidstone.
Boro'line was launched with a bold new livery, designed by Best Impressions, who would later go on to design the last independent Maidstone & District livery. The livery consisted of a blue lower and yellow upper base, with white Boro'line logo, red Maidstone strapline and line, with a silver skirt. From 1976 until well after the launch of Boro'line, vehicles in Maidstone could be seen in a variety of liveries, with some retaining either old Maidstone liveries, or the liveries in which they arrived in. Some ochre vehicles only received a yellow front and Boro'line logos, or blue and yellow base with piecemeal detail application. The use in service of many hired or demonstration vehicles caused many other liveries or white buses with Boro'line logos to be used in service.
Boro'line operated the newly-extended and increased Maidstone Borough Council Park and Ride system, which had grown from a seasonal and Saturday operation in the mid-1980s. Thus some Bedfords, MCW Metroriders and DAF SB220s were painted into the Borough's yellow and green Park and Ride Livery
Several second hand vehicles were hired or purchased for Maidstone work giving rise to some odd liveries  (West Midlands)  (Grimsby)  (Nottingham)  (Northumbria) on Boro'line work, either in Maidstone or on rail contracts.
Following the decision to convert to single deck operation, Maidstone Borough standardised on the Bedford Y series chassis, with mostly Duple bodies. With the advent of Boro'line, with the exception of London contracts, there was no vehicle standard for Boro'line, although double deckers returned to Maidstone under the company. Boro’line purchases for Maidstone were the Scania K92, DAF SB220s, Leyland Lynx,Dodge and MCW Metrorider minibuses. Three second hand Bristol LHs were acquired from East Kent's Ashford operations. Some of the second hand vehicles used for London tenders were later transferred to Maidstone, as well as some Ailsas.
Maidstone Borough purchased several Duple-bodied Bedford coaches, and in 1976 14 Leyland Leopard coaches were acquired from Nottingham (The Lilac Leopards - see liveries), allowing withdrawal of the final double deckers of Maidstone Corporation. As with the bus fleet, Boro’line operated a number of coach types without a standard vehicle. Some coaches were used for excursions, although many saw service in Maidstone on passenger routes, with some even fitted with bus seats.
Several Maidstone Borough coaches received names:
- Maidstone Minstrel 
- Maidstone Monarch 
- Maidstone Maiden JKJ 278V
- Maidstone Marksman 
- Maidstone Mountaineer TER 5S
- Rare vehicles operated by Maidstone Borough included all of the 4 Bedford JJL midibuses built.
- A Leyland Titan PD3 with Queen Mary bodywork new to Southdown was acquired from a Welsh operator. Re-registered from BUF 287C to 217 UKL, it was conductor-operated on the Park Wood service and also used on contract work, and latterly as a driver trainer.
- In 1989 Maidstone Mountaineer TER 5S was rebodied with a Willowbrook 'Warrior' body.
- Maidstone Marksman was a rare Wrightbus Contour coach body on a Bedford YNT chassis.
Boro'line liveried vans were used as crew transfer vehicles. Maidstone Borough Council Transport maintained a Bedford towing vehicle which regularly saw action in the town as the Bedford fleet aged.
List of vehicle types
The following is a list of new and second hand vehicles by type, used by Maidstone Borough Council Transport and Boro'line in Maidstone.
Boro'Line in Maidstone
- 1976 built Alexander AV-bodied Volvo Ailsa
- 1974 built East Lancs-bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68/1R
- 1987 built East Lancs-bodied Scania K92
- Single-deck buses
- 1991 built Ikarus-bodied DAF SB220
- 1987 built East Lancs-bodied Scania K92
- 1975 built ECW-bodied Bristol LH
- 1987 built Leyland Lynx
- 1978-1980 built Leyland National
- 1984 built Wright Contour-bodied Bedford YNT
- 1985/6 built Plaxton-bodied Scania K92
- 1990 built Van Hool-bodied DAF MB230
Maidstone Borough Council Transport
- Single-deck buses
- 1975 built Willowbrook-bodied Bedford YRQ
- 1975-76 built Duple-bodied Bedford YRT
- 1978 built Duple-bodied Bedford YMT
- 1981-2 built Wadham Stringer-bodied Bedford
- 1982-3 built Wright-bodied Bedford YMT
See also↑Jump back a section
- Southbus webpage Maidstone Corporation, old operator profile
- Southbus website History of Maidstone Corporation
- Southbus web page Maidstone Area Bus Services
- Fotopic image of fiesta blue liveried Borough Council bus
- Fotopic image of second ochre livery with Maidstone are bus services logos
- Fotopic image of a 'lilac leopard'
- Flickr image of Boro'line livery on a single deck bus
- Fotopic image of a Boro'line DAF SB220 in Park and Ride livery
- Fotopic image of a Boro'line MCW in Park and Ride livery
- Fotopic image of a Boro'line Bedford in Park and Ride livery
- Boro'line Maidstone Leyland Lynx
- Boro'line Bristol LH in Maidstone in allover advertising livery
- Boro'line Leyland National on Maidstone duties
- Fotopic image of a Boro'line Ailsa on Maidstone duties
- Google cache of a Corgi Models web page, offering the bus as catalogue number OM41911
- Flickr image of rebodied Maidstone Mountaineer
- Fotopic image of a Boro'line crew van
- Fotopic image of Maidstone Borough Bedford tow truck
- Bus Lists on the web New Maidstone vehicles are listed under owners 'Maidstone', 'Maidstone BT', 'Maidstone BC' and 'Maidstone Boroline'