Created by local government re-organisation on the 1st April 1974, the East Staffordshire District Council inherited 35 vehicles from Burton-upon-Trent Corporation Transport Department.
14 were conventional two-man operated rear-entrance double-deckers, whilst the remainder were rear-engined vehicles suitable for one-man operation.
In the face of heavy losses for 1974 an order for three new vehicles was cancelled and it was decided to purchase second-hand vehicles for the following year.
As a result two former Portsmouth Atlanteans (new in 1963) were purchased, followed by another four in 1976.
At the same time it was decided to withdraw the remaining conventional double-deckers and replace them with one-man operated vehicles. An order for 16 (later reduced to 13) was budgeted for with a corresponding reduction in the fleet strength to 33 vehicles.
The first new vehicles for East Staffordshire arrived in 1978; two Dennis Dominator chassis (Nos. 22-23) with East Lancs H75F bodywork and three Leyland AN68 Atlanteans (Nos. 24-26) with similar bodywork.
However the demand on vehicles was such that the fleet remained understrength and several elderly vehicles approaching withdrawal had to be kept running, especially as the two Dominators were in the main unreliable in service, adding further to costs.
In 1979 two routes were transferred from Midland Red, who also operated throughout the area, although neither were substantial – one operated only two days a week, whilst the other was a peak period only service.
By 1980 more service rationalisation was needed as passenger numbers continued to fall, which resulted in one route being withdrawn completely and two others merged with existing services.
Five more new Dennis Dominators were purchased during the year, Nos. 30-34 were again bodied by East Lancs to H75F. More service alterations followed in 1981 and a pair of second-hand Bristol RE’s from Blackburn Corporation were acquired.
In keeping with the Council’s intention to develop bus services, two new routes (to Abbots Bromley and Stretton) were inaugurated in 1983 and construction of a new depot on former brewery land at Derby Street commenced.
At the same time plans for de-regulation of the bus industry were beginning to surface. Although welcomed by private operators, the Council were apprehensive. Rather than engage in a costly ‘bus war’ it was decided to merge their interests with those of Stevensons of Uttoxeter, a prominent local company, with Stevensons having the controlling share.
A new board would have council representation and would take effect from the 1st October 1985. And so it was that on 30th September 1985, Atlantean No. 26 operated the final Council service without ceremony, bringing to an end over 80 years of municipal transport in Burton-upon-Trent.
In producing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
Trams and Buses in Burton (Stanier, West, Stanier; Carlton Publishing 1991); PSV Circle Fleet History PD18 (1990).