In March 1928 Llandudno Urban District Council was successful in obtaining a license to operate a fleet of omnibuses for the benefit of visitors to the resort. It was explained that the services would not be of the ordinary sort, and would be operated solely to enable their patrons to enjoy the scenery of the district. Accordingly it was agreed with the Electric Railway Company that they would not pick up passengers close to the tramway. Services would operate only during a 22 week summer season, and intially there were two vehicles - a Guy and a Dennis.
The first service was operated from 30th July 1928 on a circular journey around the Great Orme's Marine Drive, starting and ending at Prince Edward Square. The service was sufficiently popular that a further four Dennis vehicles with similar 'toastrack' bodies were purchased for the 1929 season. Records suggest that around 82,000 passengers were carried that year.
The fleet remained unchanged until 1935, when the original Guy was replaced by a new Guy Wolf with a body carrying detachable side panels, and in 1937 the original Dennis was replaced by a coach-bodied Commer with a roll-back canvas roof. In 1938 another such vehicle joined the fleet.
No further vehicles joined the fleet until 1968 when two Dennis PAX buses replaced the Fodens on the mountain route, and introduced a new blue livery which was applied to all the forward-control buses in the fleet. Maroon and cream was retained for the normal-control buses. In 1974 the old UDC was amalgamated as part of the new Aberconwy Borough Council, and new liveries of red and grey were applied to the vehicles over the ext two years. The bus stand at Prince Edward Square was significantly changed, with benches for waiting passengers. In 1976 two new Bedford SB5 buses were purchased, followed by two second-hand Bedford VAS5's. Buses of this type continued to be used until the end of services operated by the council.
Since that time, there have been many changes, and now the old tour bus stand has gone completely, swept away in a complete remodelling of the road layout in 2000. The last vehicles to be owned by Conwy Borough Council were disposed of in 1999, and the Great Orme tour bus is operated by Alpine from a lay-by at the end of the pier. An open-top tour of Llandudno and Conwy is also operated by them under the name of Guide Friday.
A surprising number of ex-Llandudno buses are now in preservation, and it is hoped to gather the maximum number together for the celebrations this year. Click here for the Click here for the FLEET LISTING and current status.
I am indebted to Geoff Lumb, and Fare Stage (the magazine of the Omnibus Society, July 1978) for the historical details presented here.