Minibus revolution kept rural communities alive

A minibus admiring the daffodils in the village of Southwick
A minibus admiring the daffodils in the village of Southwick
You might struggle with this scene but it is in fact looking across Waite Street, Cosham. The tram is heading for Spur Road.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: When trams ran through the fire station’s offices at Cosham

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When bus company Provincial went into employee ownership following deregulation of the industry, it became People’s Provincial.

It extended beyond its traditional area of Gosport and Fareham and became a familiar sight in Portsmouth where it developed a new route network. It also won council subsidies to run buses at Wickham, Droxford, Southwick and Denmead.

Readers in rural areas may recall these friendly minibuses from the early days of what is commonly known as ‘the minibus revolution’.

These pictures from John Kirby, of North End, Portsmouth, take us back to the 1980s when life was a little more unhurried and buses provided vital links for rural communities – times when there was plenty of council funding.

They were a lifeline to people of all ages and were partially replaced by taxis or car share schemes.