On the 1st April 1967 the former boroughs of West Hartlepool and Hartlepool were merged to form the new County Brough of Hartlepool, and the bus fleets of both operators were amalgamated into a single fleet bringing years of rivalry to an end.
The small Hartlepool fleet, consisting of just four buses, was re-numbered and the arrangement with Bee Line Roadways, who operated them on behalf of the Corporation, was terminated.
The former West Hartlepool depot in Old Hartlepool Road continued to be used for the new undertaking.
West Hartlepool had begun to convert all its routes to one-man operation in 1964, but the joint route remained crew operated because of the involvement of Hartlepool Corporation.
On 29th April 1967, just a few weeks after the merger, it was converted to one-man operation. By this time the majority of the former West Hartlepool fleet had been replaced by single-deckers and the standard vehicle had become the Bristol RELL chassis with ECW bodywork.
Double-deckers were therefore now in the minority and were used mainly on the service between Clavering Estate and Seaton Carew, and on works and schools services.
In 1974, the authority became part of the new county of Cleveland and relinquished county borough status, becoming Hartlepool Borough Transport, and at the same time a new livery was proposed. A largely cream livery with dark red relief was adopted in 1975.
By 1977, little had changed in the bus network and the borough was operating the following services
|1||Middlegate -Port Clarence|
|2||Middlegate – West Park|
|3||Church Street – Kilmarnock Road|
|4||Hart Lane – Church Street – Thornhill Gardens – Kilmarnock Road|
|5||Church Street – Truro Drive|
|6||Hart Station or Clavering Estate – Truro Drive or Maxwell Road|
|7||Middlegate or Church Street – Wynyard Road|
|8||Church Street – Owton Manor Road|
|11||Church Street – Throston Grange|
|12||Clavering Estate – Seaton Carew|
|13||Brus Arms or Chatham Road – Seaton Carew|
|14/15||Church Street – Marlowe Road|
|16||Church Street – West Park or Dalton Piercy|
|17||Church Street – Hart Lane|
|18||Church Street – Throston Grange|
In addition two summer-only services (No. 10: Seaton Carew – Hardwick, via Billingham, and No. 26: Seaton Carew – Park Road, via Transporter Bridge) were operated jointly with Cleveland Transit.
In October 1986, the Transport Department became an ‘arms-length’ limited company, trading as Hartlepool Passenger Services Ltd., and the undertaking passed out of municipal ownership, although the council still retained the majority shareholding.
It was purchased by its employees in June 1993, but, like so many other undertakings, was eventually sold to Stagecoach in December 1994.
This history covers the period of municipal operations of Hartlepool County Borough Transport, which effectively ended on 26th October 1986 with the enactment of the 1985 Transport Act (de-regulation), and in preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources:
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner; PSL, 1996); PSV Circle; Fleet History PA15 (1984); Municipal Buses in Colour (Reg Wilson; Ian Allan, 1997), Buses (various editions), Hartlepool Transport (Buses Extra 1, G. Coxon). Some of these publications also draw on material from earlier works which are acknowledged in the relevant publication.