STAGECOACH South have unveiled a very special double-decker bus to mark 40 years of service to residents in Hampshire.

To mark the anniversary, the bus operator unveiled the bus in the retro Hampshire Bus livery that was a popular sight on Hampshire streets, during the mid-1980s and until the 1990s.

On April 1, 1983, a bus company named Hampshire Bus, was formed to run bus services across Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester and Southampton. Previously, bus services in these areas were operated by the larger Hants & Dorset bus company, under the National Bus ownership.

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In April 1987, Hampshire Bus was the first National bus business to be purchased by the Stagecoach Group, and to this day remains serving the communities of Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester.

The Hampshire Bus name continued until the early 2000s before finally being absorbed into the Stagecoach brand name.

Gordon Frost, interim managing director for Stagecoach South said the company was “proud of our heritage and follows the tradition of providing an important public transport network to thousands of customers across our region.”

“Customers are the core focus of our business and since 1983, buses have evolved for the comfort and convenience of the customer. We have introduced many features including low floor bus access for wheelchairs and buggies, next stop announcements, smart card and contactless ticketing, real-time bus information and a bus app to improve access to our services and products," he continued.

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Gordon added: “Hampshire Bus plays such a significant part in the history of Stagecoach, so it only seemed right to honour the anniversary of its formation”.

The anniversary bus will initially see use at Andover, whilst later in the year it will also be seen on bus services across the Basingstoke and Winchester networks.