Royal Mail operated a network of Postbus passenger services in the United Kingdom. Postbuses combined the delivery and collection of mail with the transport of passengers. In many areas the Postbus was the only means of public transport.
Postbuses became operational in 1967 after a recommendation from a government commission. According to this commission mail vans could be adapted to carry small numbers of passengers. Thanks to its low costs this concept spreaded quickly.
The Post bus transport tickets consisted of stamps.
Area of transport
The first route was in Wales from Llangurig to Llanidloes. In the years after this the Royal Mail Post Bus expanded to over 200 routes in the rural areas of England, Scotland and Wales.
Postbuses followed known postal schedules and routes. There were usually two services a day, as Postbuses needed to deliver mail in the morning and pick it up in the afternoon. In most cases Postbuses ran from Monday to Friday. On some routes the service ran on Saterday as well. A passenger could hail a Postbus at any point along its route and it would stop, providing road and traffic conditions allowed.
Since 2005 the number of routes showed a siginificant reduction. The last three services in Wales ceased in 2009. In 2011 only three routes were left in England and nine in Scotland. According to British Mail there are severel reasons to cease services:
- low numbers of passengers
- lack of funding
- smaller amounts of mail
After March 2016 only one route, between Lairg and Tongue in Scotland, remained. At that time there was an average of just three passengers a week. The last day of service of this line was on 19 August 2017.
Postbuses were vans or cars with the Royal Mail livery. The number of seats was limited.