B & S Motor Services buses were the first to operate locally on a route between Leeds and Castleford through Methley and Oulton.
The maroon coloured buses were owned by J. Bullock and Sons based at Featherstone and had started running between there and Pontefract in 1914. Ten years later, in February 1924, the service through Oulton was started with buses every hour which was soon extended to every half hour. A late bus left Leeds at 10.40 pm on Saturday nights.
The West Riding Automobile Company started running its green buses on the same route a few months after B & S and they quickly established another service between Leeds and Wakefield through Woodlesford, Oulton and Stanley. In 1925 both B & S and West Riding were licensed to run between Leeds and Woodlesford but the West Riding service was short lived. Three years later B & S were given permission to extend the route to Castleford via Swillington, Bowers Row and Allerton Bywater.
Many local passengers would walk to the bus stop at Oulton Lodge to catch the frequent buses into Leeds with some preferring to let a West Riding bus go past as they preferred the more comfortable B & S buses. After the Second World War B & S were one of the biggest independent bus companies in the country, owning 166 vehicles operating on 30 routes, but they were taken over by the West Riding company in 1950 which doubled the size of its fleet.
Jim Bullock, one of four brothers who started the company, is understood to have stayed with his son in an “art deco” style house on Leeds Road in Oulton where he was frequently seen on the flat roof watching his company’s buses pass by. A dispute between the brothers in 1930 led to the eldest, Ernest Peter Bullock, leaving the original company after which he bought the South Yorkshire Motor Company which ran between Leeds and Doncaster via Pontefract.
In 1934 the West Riding company were given permission by the Yorkshire Traffic Commissioners to start a new weekday service from Woodlesford to Ambler’s Mill at Ardsley via Rothwell, Carlton, Ouzlewell Green and Thorpe.
Rothwell based Newton and Ward buses operated between Carlton, Rothwell and Leeds and they also had a service between Rothwell and Swillington through Oulton and Woodlesford.
MOTOR BUS SERVICES TO LEEDS. A THREE MONTHS’ EXPERIMENT.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Thursday 12 February 1925.
The motor bus controversy in Leeds is practically at an end. At a meeting of the Leeds Watch Committee yesterday, Mr, G. N. Morrison (deputy chairman) presiding, details were arranged in regard to stands, routes, stopping places, and time-tables, in conformity with the principles already agreed upon between the Committee and bus proprietors. These are to be submitted to a further meeting of the Watch Committee tomorrow week, and afterwards to the Council for approval.
Mr. Morrison informed a representative of the “The Yorkshire Post” yesterday that the whole question is now likely to be settled amicably as between the Corporation and the bus proprietors.
The scheme is subject to a three months’ trial, during which period careful attention will be devoted to seeing that the regulations are carried out. For this purpose eight extra men will engaged in the Hackney Carriage Department. The initial licences will be for three months only.
Bus fares for within the city boundaries are to be not less than 2d. in excess of the charge for similar journeys by the Corporation trams or buses. These privately-owned buses will not be permitted pick up passengers within the city boundaries to be set down within that area.
The bus proprietors desirous of running vehicles within the city were recently asked to send in an application, also submitting time-tables and other details of their proposed services.
Yesterday the Watch Committee had before them 23 applications (including five from Leeds proprietors) affecting services to 28 destinations. The buses will run on eight routes into and out the city. The number of buses to run regularly is 142, but 51 additional buses are to be licensed in readiness in the event of breakdown.
There will seven stands for buses, five in the centre of the city and two in the suburbs. The position of the suburban stands has not yet been decided.
At present there are about 120 buses running into and out of the city. Four persons who have been running services have not replied to the questionnaire submitted by the Watch Committee, and they will not be licensed until they do so.
SUCCESS STORY. Yorkshire Evening Post. Thursday 29 June 1950.
Some 50 years ago, 68 year old James Bullock, joint managing director and owner of probably the largest privately owned bus company in the country used to leave a two bedroomed terrace house in Wilson Street Featherstone, to drive trippers about in one of his father’s wagonettes.
Next Monday a merger agreement comes into effect in which the 166 modem buses of his company, J. Bullock and Sons (1928). Ltd., are taken over by “the West Riding Automobile Company at a figure reputed over half a,million pounds.
Mr. Bullock, also a well-known racehorse owner – his horse Good Taste, winner of the North Riding Cup 1948 – ran at Carlisle today – is proud of his achievements.
From Featherstone he went to Wakefield in 1920 with one bus and a taxi and eight years later founded, with one of his brothers, the present firm.
In his house at Sandal Wakefield, he recalled days when driving a bus on outings meant snatching sleep in the back of the vehicle.
During the 1914-18 war he and his brother drove Leeds munition workers to and from their factories. They carried early morning, noon and night shifts throughout the war, but this continuous strain resulted in Mr. Bullock ceasing to drive after the armistice.
Today his firm has reached its peak as a private company, and “in the Interests general economy” he has agreed to the merger.
“It has been bit of a wrench after all these years.” he confesses. His recipe for success? – Hard work.