The Farsley Omnibus Co. Ltd. first commenced trading in the early 1920’s under the ownership of Mr. Lawson, and was based in a garage in Town Street, Stanningley.
The original route was operated between Stanningley and Rodley, via Farsley, on the outskirts of Leeds and the Company never expanded beyond this single service, although the route was later extended.
Shortly after the service commenced it was purchased by Maurice Greenwood, who was to control the business for the next thirty years.
The early livery was red and cream and this remained basically unaltered throughout the life of the undertaking and, although fleet numbers were later used, not all vehicles carried them.
The mixture of new and second-hand vehicles was entirely single-deck until 1954 when the first double-deck vehicle was added to the fleet. Early preferences were for Commer vehicles, but later Daimler and Leyland predominated.
In the mid-1930’s an application was made to extend the original service at both ends, from Rodley as far as Horsforth and from Stanningley through to Pudsey.
Following a lengthy battle with the Traffic Commissioners the application was granted, although there were restrictions placed on the carriage of passengers on the section between Stanningley and Pudsey after objections by Leeds City Transport.
With the advent of the Second World War in 1939, the restrictions were removed as an emergency measure and never re-imposed in peacetime, so that unrestricted carriage of passengers was ultimately allowed.
The route was again extended in the late 1940’s when the Horsforth terminus was moved from The Green to the Old Ball Hotel on the far side of Horsforth and peak-hour extras were diverted at Farsley from the main route to serve the Smiths Crane Works at Rodley.
On October 1st 1952 the business was sold to Wallace Arnold Ltd., of Leeds. The Company continued to be operated as a subsidiary and the red and cream livery was retained.
Although the Stanningley garage was still in use it was not taken over by Wallace Arnold and passed to a haulage contractor. The Farsley fleet was housed at the existing Wallace Arnold garage in Richardshaw Lane, Pudsey.
Later, after the acquisition of J.W. Kitchen & Sons, the fleet was re-housed in that Company’s former premises also in Richardshaw Lane, but just a little further down than the Wallace Arnold garage, which was subsequently closed.
The only vehicles retained after the take-over were four Roe B35F-bodied Daimler CVD6’s, nos. 8,9, 11 and 12, new in 1947 (No.8) and 1948.
The remaining vehicles were withdrawn and replaced by coaches loaned from the Wallace Arnold fleet. Following the take-over the use of fleet numbers was discontinued.
In May 1954 the first double-deck vehicle arrived. It was DUB926, an ex-Leeds Corporation Leyland TD4, which came via another Wallace Arnold subsidiary, Hardwicks of Scarborough.
At the time Horsforth UDC objected to the running of double-deckers and initially the vehicle was restricted to the Pudsey to Rodley section of the route, but, by April 1955, the objections had been dropped and the vehicle was allowed to work the full route to the Old Ball Hotel in Horsforth.
Subsequently, in October 1955, three Wilks & Mead C33F-bodied Daimler CVD6 coaches (MUM458 of 1949, MUM460 and MUM461 of 1950) which had been added to the Farsley fleet in October 1954 received new double-deck H33/28R bodies by Roe and double-deck vehicles began to predominate in the fleet for the first time.
On October 13th 1956 the route was extended to provide additional journeys from Horsforth to Tinshill at certain times, worked exclusively by single-deckers because of a weight restriction, but had to be suspended in October 1967 when British Railways imposed a 2-ton weight limit on the bridge at Horsforth Station.
The service frequency on the main route was reduced from every twenty minutes to half-hourly in the evenings and on Sundays from 21st August 1960 due to a decline in passenger traffic.
In May and June 1962 a 36ft AEC Reliance demonstrator (327NMP) was on loan, probably as an experiment in high capacity single-deck operation, although in May 1963 the Company’s first 30ft double-decker, a Leyland PD3A/1 (909EUM) with Roe H41/32R bodywork, entered service.
By February 1967 the route had become mainly one-man operated with double-deckers working only weekday peak periods, except on Saturdays, when double-deckers were in greater evidence due to the higher volume of traffic.
On the 31st March 1968, Wallace Arnold sold the Company to Leeds Corporation, the last day of working by Farsley vehicles being Saturday 30th March 1968, when MUB433 worked the last service journey from Pudsey to Rodley, returning at 23.15 to Stanningley only, thus finally ending nearly 50 years of the Farsley Omnibus Company.
In producing this history reference has been made to the following source;
The End of Kippax and Farsley by JB Parkin (Buses No. 161, August 1968).