Heritage operation for sale

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A heritage operator is planning to sell his business as he says what began as a part-time job has become a full-time job and more, reports Nick Larkin

Comedy scriptwriter, actor and performer Mark Cribb bought AEC Routemaster 214CLT from Tony Blackman in 2017. The bus was well-known as it operated in regular service with Tony’s Halifax joint Committee local bus operations until 2010; painted in traditional Halifax colours. It was later painted London Transport red for heritage duties.

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Mark had always loved London’s AEC Routemasters since travelling to school on an RM and watching the Cliff Richard film Summer Holiday. He was eventually persuade to take the plunge by a friend, Jason Mee, who ran Gravesend, Kent-based Redroute buses. Mark set up the Old Red Bus Company to operate the RM, and turned over £30,000 in his first year of trading.

“I had originally intended this to be a part-time job but everything went mad, with bookings up this year again. We have the odd cancelled wedding because of the coronavirus but most have been postponed,” said Mark.

The work has expanded away from just weddings into corporate hire, film work and even Cliff Richard Summer Holiday-themed tours. There is a lot to do, from looking after the bus and taking it for safety checks to organising bookings.

“I had thought of keeping the business and hiring in a Routemaster but it would be best to sell both.”

The 1962 Routemaster is said to be in excellent condition with an overhauled engine, new tyres and MOT until 2021. It has, said Mark, ‘been looked after like a baby.’

Mark, who took his PCV test and acquired an O-licence for the business, normally drives the bus himself with fiancée Leonor as conductress.

The business is based in Rochester, Kent, and Mark has proposed a price of £45,000 for the bus and £20,000 to buy the business, but said all serious offers will be considered. Mark can be contacted on 07718 94068 or via www.theoldredbuscompany.com.