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Historic buses roll again on centenary

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 03, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Glyn Buttery, of Kidsgrove with  a 1972 Bristol RE which took in the event.

Glyn Buttery, of Kidsgrove with a 1972 Bristol RE which took in the event.

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THE centenary of the first licensed bus service was celebrated on Sunday when more than dozen historical vehicles travelled from Hanley to Leek.

The much-needed public transport was set up and operated from Hanley and Leek by PET, the forerunner of PMT (Potteries Motor Traction) 100 years ago.

To celebrate the milestone, the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society (POPS) organised a procession of former PMT buses which travelled from Hanley via Cobridge and Endon to Leek.

John Cooke, president of POPS, a charity which was formed in 1977 to preserve and restore former PMT buses.

The 74-year-old, who has been employed as a bus driver for 50 years, said: "The first licensed bus service ran from Hanley to Leek in 1913. I think that route was chosen because Leek has always been an important market town."

"When the war started, the buses were sent to serve in France. But they were later returned and have, of course, been developed from then."

John, who retired from PMT at 65 and carried on driving part-time for Wardle Transport, added: "When I saw this date I thought we would have to mark it and do something special. The oldest bus in the procession dates back to 1949."

A single journey in 1913 first cost 11 pence, taking 45 minutes at just 12mph, due to the solid tyres and cobblestoned roads.

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