Southern Vectis (20%)
Poole & Bournemouth
Badger Vectis was an English bus company based in Poole. A post-deregulation joint venture between Weston-super-Mare based bus company Badgerline and Isle of Wight bus company Southern Vectis, it was set up in September 1987 to compete with incumbent operator Wilts & Dorset. The buses all used the Badgerline brand. After a noted bus war between the two large companies, Badger Vectis folded in March 1988.
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Badger Vectis was formed in September 1987 as an joint venture between Badgerline (80%) and Southern Vectis (20%), after both recently privatised bus companies had failed in a joint bid earlier in the year to buy Wilts & Dorset, which was, like its suitors, a former nationalised National Bus Company subsidiary. Wilts & Dorset had instead been privatised via a management buyout. Badgerline had already been competing with Wilts & Dorset in Salisbury since June 1987, while Southern Vectis had already set up a mainland subsidiary, Solent Blue Line, to compete in Southampton.
Headed by a regional director from Badgerline, the new operation used vehicles from both partners, as well as from elsewhere, and rented garage space from the other local operator Yellow Buses at their Mallard Road depot, in north-east Bournemouth. It traded as Badgerline, using the same livery as its parent company, although with more green on the front of buses, due to a perceived clash with Yellow Buses’ livery.
Badger Vectis competed with Wilts & Dorset using a network focused on urban routes, radiating from Poole, with an important corridor being the coast road between Poole and Bournemouth. The company’s tactic was to use a combination of a frequent and simple to understand Iveco minibus operated routes, branded as Minilinks, together with 2 person crew-operated larger buses, Bristol RE single-deck buses, to compete with Wilts & Dorset’s largely archaic, complex and infrequent, established operations, which had no minibuses and no crew operated buses, and which had routes which ranged over a large rural area as well as the conurbation. Badger Vectis also operated cross-linked services to differentiate itself with Wilts & Dors