|Founded||1985 (as Northern Scottish)|
1992 (as Bluebird Buses)
|Locale||Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and Moray|
Stagecoach Bluebird (also known by its legal operating name Bluebird Buses Ltd, and formerly Northern Scottish Omnibuses Ltd) is a Scottish bus operating company which covers the areas of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.
It is a subsidiary of the Stagecoach Group, after their purchase of the company from the Scottish Bus Group in 1991. The company holds a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II for bus and coach services, granted in 1996.
From its head office on Guild Street, Aberdeen, Stagecoach Bluebird covers an operating range stretching over Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray.
It is the largest operator in the north east of Scotland and is responsible for urban, rural and interurban services in the towns of Alford, Ballater, Braemar, Buckie, Elgin, Forres, Fraserburgh, Fyvie, Macduff, Mintlaw, Peterhead and Stonehaven as well as city services in Aberdeen. Depots are also located in these towns.
Bluebird also provide coaches for Scottish Citylink services, mainly from Aberdeen to Perth, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The company was formed as Northern Scottish Omnibuses Ltd in June 1985 from the northern operations of W. Alexander & Sons (Northern) Ltd. The southern operations in Arbroath, Montrose, Forfar and Dundee were ceded to a new company, Strathtay Scottish, now Stagecoach Strathtay.
From its creation the company retained the traditional yellow and cream livery from its predecessor.
On the approach to deregulation of the British bus industry in 1986, Northern had a working relationship with Aberdeen city operator Grampian Regional Transport, and operated some services together under the Grampian Scottish name. However, the co-operation would be short lived, and upon deregulation Northern Scottish launched a network of services throughout Aberdeen under the CityBus brand and adopting dual-door double deckers, non-standard for Northern but common with Grampian. A more striking livery was adopted for the operation incorporating large areas of blue. In response, Grampian would extend its operations outwith Aberdeen and into Northern's rural operating base.
Outside Aberdeen, Northern saw little to no competition, thanks in part to its largely rural and remote territory.
Toward privatisation the company resurrected the classic bluebird logo that was once used by Walter Alexander for its coaching operations. Midland Scottish, itself a fellow SBG subsidiary and once also part of the Alexander's company, had continued to use the same logo, and as it rebranded itself as Midland Bluebird, Northern Scottish began trading as Bluebird Northern. Some vehicles operated in the Elgin area were, however, branded as Moray Bluebird, whilst those operating in the Peterhead and Fraserburgh areas were branded Buchan Bluebird.
Though its operations remained largely the same since its formation in 1985 (and earlier) and with little competition, Northern Scottish was not one of the most profitable of the Scottish Bus Group subsidiaries, largely due to the sparse population in its large operating area. However, the company was successfully privatised, being bought by Perth-based transport group Stagecoach for £5.7m in March 1991.
The yellow and cream livery was replaced with the Stagecoach corporate white with red, orange and blue stripes, and shortly after privatisation the legal company name was changed to Bluebird Buses Ltd.
Stagecoach Bluebird operate the following fleet: Mercedes Sprinter City, Optare Solo, ADL Enviro 200, ADL Enviro 300, ADL Enviro 400, Volvo B7TL, Volvo B9TL, Dennis Trident, Plaxton Profile, Plaxton Panther, Plaxton Elite & Plaxton Elite Interdeck.