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Courtney Buses[1] is a bus company based in Bracknell, England. Founded in 1973, the company operates a network of commercial and contracted local bus services and school buses in Berkshire, north Hampshire and small parts of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The company is known for its use of alternative fuels, having been the first bus company in the United Kingdom to operate a bus run on 100% soya oil. In March 2019 it was purchased by Reading Buses.

Courtney Buses
Courtney Coaches 6 YG52 DHJ.jpg
Optare Solo in Borough Bus livery on
route 6 in Windsor in August 2006
ParentReading Buses
Service areaBerkshire
Service typeBus services
Fleet57 (March 2019)
Chief executiveRobert Williams


The company was formed in 1973 as a taxi hire firm in Bracknell by Bill Courtney-Smith, who still manages the company, and moved into coach hire in the 1980s.[2] In 2000 Courtney Coaches commenced its first local route, 53 (Wexham Park Hospital - Maidenhead - Bracknell). This was taken over by First Berkshire & The Thames Valley in 2003.[3] The company expanded dramatically in January 2004 when all seven local routes in Maidenhead were taken over from First Berkshire.[2]

In September 2006 Courtney Coaches had its licence revoked by the Traffic Commissioner.[4] An appeal was launched, operations continued and the decision overturned by the end of 2006.[5] Between 2005 and 2007, a park & ride service was operated between Maidenhead town centre and a temporary site at Stafferton Way. The Stafferton Way site had been used to provide replacement parking during a period in which a town centre car park was shut.[6]

In October 2007 the company introduced a unique ticketing system, ETMSS, which uses mobile computer technology to replace fare charts and reporting software with one computerised system.[7] Other features include the ability to modify fares from anywhere using the internet, GPS tracking of individual buses and reduced insurance costs as a result of this, and the ability to calculate fares, cash exchanges and refunds.[8] The cost of installation was reportedly paid back within the first 12 months.[7][8]

The routes in Maidenhead were changed significantly in early 2009. However, changes to the stopping pattern on route 6 (Maidenhead — Windsor) received criticism from some residents[9] and were further changed in April 2009.[10]

Further expansion came in January 2009, when the shuttle service between Didcot Parkway station and Milton Park was expanded from one bus to two using a new low-floor double-deck vehicle at a cost of £175,000. Over 400 passes for the service were issued to workers prior to its introduction.[11] In November 2009 a Courtney Coaches driver ejected a woman from a bus following a complaint from another passenger because of fears over swine flu.[12]

Courtney moved its depot from Downmill Road, Bracknell to Hogwood Lane Industrial Estate in Finchampstead in late 2010.[13] The company announced a change of trading name to Courtney Buses in late 2011.[14] In November 2011 Courtney began operation of a new Christmas park & ride service in Windsor.[15] There was more expansion in early 2014, when four contracted routes in the Bracknell area were taken over by Courtney following the withdrawal of Thames Travel.[16]

In July 2015, Courtney Buses took over the operation of nine routes in Bracknell previously operated by First Berkshire & The Thames Valley.[17][18]

In March 2019, the business was purchased by Reading Buses.[19][20]

Alternative fuelsEdit

Optare Solo Slimline 8.8m converted to run on vegetable oil at Bracknell bus station in June 2010

In 2002 Courtney Coaches became the first bus company in Britain to operate a bus on 100% soya oil.[21] Abingdon based company Regenatec converted an Optare Solo minibus to operate on the fuel,[22] which gained the company appearances on Working Lunch[23] and in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.[24] The cost of conversion was around £3,500.[21] Fuel savings of around 80% were reported,[25] and this cost was paid back in eight months.[23] In March 2007 Courtney director Bill Courtney-Smith and Regenatec director Mike Lawton were invited to 10 Downing Street by Prime Minister Tony Blair to demonstrate another converted vehicle at an environmental presentation.[25] Bill Courtney-Smith later bought half shares in Regenatec when the company experienced financial trouble in early 2009.[2]

In May 2012 it was announced that as part of the government's Green Bus Fund initiative, Courtney had received funding to purchase two double-deck Hybrid electric buses.[26]


Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart in Basingstoke Centre Shuttle livery at Basingstoke Leisure Park in May 2009

Courtney Buses operates a number of local routes in the towns of Maidenhead, Wokingham and Bracknell; longer-distance routes take its buses to Windsor, Henley-on-Thames, Reading and (in the case of a demand responsive service) Marlow. The company also runs contracts to Bombay Sapphire, Milton Park, Chineham Park, Foundation Park and Sony in Basingstoke.[27]


As at July 2016 the fleet consisted of 60 buses.[28] Since local bus service work began the predominant type in the fleet has been the Optare Solo, although other vehicles are also owned. Two notable buses delivered in 2006 were the only Alexander Dennis Enviro 300s with East Lancs Esteem bodywork,[29] which left the fleet in 2011. Two Optare Tempos powered by 100% pure plant oil, the first 12m single-deckers to run on this fuel, were ordered in 2010.[30][31]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 1128598 Courtney Coaches Limited
  2. ^ a b c Courtney Buses - About Us Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Courtney Buses
  3. ^ News Oxford & Chiltern Bus Page April 2003
  4. ^ "Fleet News England & Wales". Buses (619): 44. October 2006.
  5. ^ "Fleet News England & Wales". Buses (622): 50. January 2007.
  6. ^ Maidenhead & Windsor: New Maidenhead Hines Meadow Multi-Storey Takes Over from Temporary Park and Ride Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b ETMSS Ltd
  8. ^ a b "Courtney pioneers ticketing advance". Buses (658): 27. January 2010.
  9. ^ Maidenhead and Windsor - Bus route 6 Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ U-turn: Bus stops to be reinstated Archived 13 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine Maidenhead Advertiser, 1 April 2009
  11. ^ Bus link boosted (From Oxford Mail)
  12. ^ Cough girl is booted off bus over swine flu - The Sun
  13. ^ Gymnastics club wants new home Reading Post, 8 March 2011
  14. ^ Courtney Buses to replace Courtney Coaches Archived 6 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Courtney Buses
  15. ^ Park and ride scheme launched for Christmas shoppers Maidenhead Advertiser, 22 November 2011
  16. ^ New bus providers to ring in the New Year Archived 7 April 2014 at Bracknell News, 29 December 2013.
  17. ^ Changes coming for Bracknell's bus users Get Reading 25 June 2015
  18. ^ "Courtney Buses takes over First Bracknall services" Coach & Bus Week issue 1198 21 July 2015 page 10
  19. ^ Reading Buses agree terms to purchase Courtney Buses Bracknell News 6 March 2019
  20. ^ Reading Buses buys out Courtney Buses Wokingham Paper 6 March 2019
  21. ^ a b Courtney Coaches - Going Green
  22. ^ Regenatec: Case Studies - Courtney Coaches[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ a b "Regenatec: Media - TV - Courtney Coaches". Archived from the original on 5 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  24. ^ Britain has low-pollution technology but it needs to be supported - Telegraph
  25. ^ a b Regenatec - Media - Visit to the Prime Minister Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Millar, Alan (July 2013). "More GBF money allocated, new clean-up fund announced". Buses (700): 6–7.
  27. ^ Services Archived 5 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Courtney Buses
  28. ^ Courtney Coaches Fleet List Bus Zone 29 September 2013
  29. ^ "Fleet News England and Wales". Buses (618): 46. September 2006.
  30. ^ Courtney orders low-carbon Tempos Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Optare - Press Releases Archived 24 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine Optare

External linksEdit

  Media related to Courtney Coaches at Wikimedia Commons