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There is a huge amount of history associated with route 88, the Black Prince story starts with the acquisition of Amberley travel in 1994.


Brian purchased the Amberley travel business, taking on drivers, routes and goodwill.


The main route involved was the 88, which at the time operated between Thornbury Barracks, Pudsey, Leeds and Crossgates using a fleet of Leyland Nationals sporting the blue company livery.


On takeover of Amberley, Dave did not want to operate the former Amberley rolling stock, which was consequently sold privately, mainly to GM(N) Manchester.


A selection of Volvo Ailsas were quickly drafted on to the route.


During the following years, the 88 became a huge part of the Black Prince operation, extending to Bradford Interchange at one end and then Colton at the other.


Blue and cream liveried buses became synonymous with the 88 service, a kind of early "route branding" and a nod to the blue and cream of Bradford City Transport, the blue livery of Amberley travel and also Samuel Ledgard who were renowned around the Pudsey area.


The thinking behind this was that the regular passengers were already used to seeing blue buses with Amberley travel, so why change to red and yellow?.


The blue and cream buses looked incredibly smart and as we had by now come to expect from Black Prince, no two ever looked exactly the same, with often very subtle differences between all the buses on the roster!.

Volvo Ailsa buses played a huge part in the initial takeover of the service, followed by a dedicated batch of the Marshall bodied Scania 112 type.


The final "88" fleet took the form of Alexander bodied Scania 113s.


Along the way, one or two oddballs appeared in traffic on the service, but the two most notable buses allocated to the route would surely have to be 461/462, the fabulous ex GMPTE NC bodied Scania 112s, famously operated in Leeds by Black Prince in full Stagecoach livery, as acquired! - rumours were duly spread about an impending takeover, that certainly ruffled a few feathers in the Leeds City Link messroom!.


A trial took place in the late 90's on the York Road/Selby Road corridor, with the introduction of the "X88" service, which was duly deemed uneconomical as York Road was already served well by our own 4A service between Whinmoor and Leeds.


The weeks before the closure of Black Prince, Brian handed over operation of the 88 service to Firstgroup, who ran a motley collection of buses with "On Hire To Black Prince" stickers in the windscreens.


It was a sad sight for us all in the Black Prince family, but nonetheless progress and how it panned out.

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