The first regular petrol motor-bus service in Great Britain began in London

Monday 9th October 1899

The first regular petrol motor-bus service in Great Britain began in London. The Motor Traction Company, like so many other companies of the era, they considered and experimented with steam buses as an alternative to the then ubiquitous horse-drawn bus (and tram). The company was formed as the London Steam Omnibus Co Ltd, but rapidly metamorphosed into one interested in operating motor-buses, as no suitable steam buses were available. A prototype Daimler petrol bus was built in Bristol by Brazil, Holborough & Straker, thought to have been designed by Sydney Straker, of Straker-Squires fame. As per the photo, the 26-seat white-painted body was of the horse-bus type, with wooden, spoked wheels, with steel rims. Two vehicles were built and both vehicles and routes approved by the Metropolitan Police Public Carriage Department. They started a service between Kensington Gate and Victoria Station, some 3 miles. Sadly, the patronage was poor, the service ceasing in December 1900. It is not known why, in itself, this service was unsuccessful for, by 1903, the Met had approved applications for 61 mechanically-propelled buses to ply the London streets. It took until 1905 for London General (LGOC) to buy its first motor-buses; from Straker-Squire!

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