Ensignbus is a bus and coach operator, open top bus tour operator and bus dealer in Purfleet. It also operates a dealership trading used buses and coaches.
right Royale Volvo Olympian at in 2004]]
Ensignbus was formed in 1972, with a small number of bus contracts for the Port of London Authority and Lesney Products. It later diversified into bus sales and operating open top bus tours.<ref name=EnHistory>Template:Cite web</ref>
The company came to prominence in the UK when London Transport decided to dispose of its unpopular and poor performing Daimler Fleetlines from 1979. Ensignbus was the only company willing to bid for all these buses as one batch, numbering over 2,000 buses, as preferred by London Transport.<ref name=EnHistory/>
As the vehicles arrived, Ensignbus moved to new premises in Purfleet. While some were scrapped, Ensign sold many of these buses to operators around the country and abroad, with many ex-municipal companies and new operators requiring cheap re-inforcements for enhanced competition following the deregulation of bus services in 1986. Over 400 were sold to China Motor Bus in Hong Kong.<ref name=EnHistory/>
During the London Pride Sightseeing operation Ensignbus continued selling buses in smaller numbers from a site in Rainham. With the sale of London Pride, Ensignbus moved to another site in Purfleet, and grew its sales business.<ref name=EnHistory/>
Open top tour operations
In October 1985 Ensignbus purchased the London Pride Sightseeing open top bus tour business. Through links gained by selling open top buses to other operators around the world, Ensignbus expanded the concept to other cities setting up new tours. In January 1998 the open-top tour business was sold.<ref name=EnHistory/>
Starting in 1998 with an operation in Seville, in 1999 Ensignbus launched the City Sightseeing global sightseeing bus brand with a worldwide franchise model, and proceeded to rapidly expand into several cities. In May 2002 City Sightseeing bought out its main rival Guide Friday.
In November 2000 Ensignbus reacquired the London Pride Sightseeing business but sold it in 2001 to The Original Tour. In April 2011 Ensignbus sold City Sightseeing to Enrique Ybarra.
London tendered services
Also as a result of deregulation, in the mid 1980s Ensignbus expanded into tendered London Buses work in East London. Starting with one or two routes, Ensignbus gained a network of routes, using several second hand vehicles and batches of new vehicles:
- 8 1989 built Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian double-deckers
- 5 1989 built Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian double-deckers
- 16 1988 built MCW Metrobus double-deckers
In December 1990 Ensignbus sold its London tendered bus services to Hong Kong company Citybus with the Dagenham depot and 87 buses. It was rebranded as Ensign Citybus and then Capital Citybus.
Ensignbus briefly re-entered London tendered service, taking over routes 324 and 348 from First Capital who had bought Capital Citybus. Routes 325 and 509 were later added. before once again selling its London services in December 1999, this time to Town and Country Buses.<ref name=EnHistory/>
Today Ensignbus retains a small bus service network centred on Grays Bus Station. and Lakeside Shopping Centre It also regularly provides buses for rail replacement services to train operators including Greater Anglia and London Underground.
Ensignbus also operates a dealership selling buses on behalf of several major UK and Irish operators.
Ensignbus maintains a fleet of heritage buses with members of the AEC Regent III, AEC Routemaster, Daimler Fleetline, Leyland Titan, MCW Metrobus and Scania MD60 classes represented. As well as being available for charter, Ensignbus operate these at an annual running day in December.
Ensignbus has fleet of both single and double deck buses which are a combination of new and second-hand purchases. Fleet livery is light blue and silver.
- Capital Citybus
- City Sightseeing
- London Pride Sightseeing