Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society: Frequently asked questions

Got a question about Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society and/or our vehicles? Hopefully you'll find the answer here but if not please get in touch with us through our contact page.

Can I hire one of your buses for a special event?

Unfortunately this isn't possible. To be able to hire out vintage vehicles the person/company must have a valid Operators Licence (buses require an Operators Licence to work for hire or reward - look out for the blue or green disc in the windscreen or cab area of the bus), correct road tax (buses used for hire or reward require full tax to be in place instead of 'Historic' road tax used for private vehicles) and correct insurance (buses used for hire or reward require insurance to be in place to cover this type of use - many vintage buses have insurance suitable for taking the bus to classic bus shows but not for hire or reward).

Never be afraid to ask questions as genuine operators will be only too happy to provide details of any proof requested. If you take a chance and hire a bus from someone unable to provide you with such proof you risk losing your money and may even find your bus being pulled over and taken off the road on the way to/from your event which would make it memorable for the wrong reasons.

For first class coach hire we recommend Fishers Tours (Dundee) and Central Coaches (Aberdeen).

Why was your bus or buses not at a local event I attended?

Almost all of our members work full time and so they are generally only able to spare a maximum of one day a week to work on our vehicles. This means repairs that would generally only take a few days would take us a few weeks instead. It can also be quite difficult for us to track down the necessary spares or find someone with the necessary skills to work on our vehicles.

In addition we also need to be able to pay to insure, tax and MOT (where necessary) all of our vehicles which again can be quite expensive.

We do try our best to attend as many popular local events as possible and vary the vehicles we take there but we can never give any firm guarantees. Also some local event organisers may prefer to control who they will allow to attend their events in which case the fact we can't attend is totally outwith our control.

What do the bus codes mean?

Body codes use a standard system where the first letter indicates the type of body: B for single-deck bus; C for coach; DP for dual-purpose (bus with coach seats); H for highbridge double decker; L for lowbridge double decker (may have a sunken gangway at one side on the upper deck to lower the overall height or just less deck height overall); O for open-top. This letter is followed by a number indicating seating capacity (for a double deck vehicle the first figure indicates the upper deck capacity and the second figure the lower deck capacity). A final letter indicates the position of the door(s): F for front door; R for rear; D for dual doors.

Chassis codes vary between manufacturers and can be a little esoteric. Leyland, for example, used codes beginning with ‘P’ (for ‘postwar’) for all chassis introduced until the early 1970s. So Leyland Leopards were PSU (Postwar Single-deck Underfloor-engined) followed by a number that signifies the length of the chassis and a letter denoting minor revisions.

Daimler codes were similar, beginning with ‘C’ (for ‘Coventry’ or 'Commercial'), ‘R’ signifying a rear-engined chassis and ‘G6LXB’ indicating a Gardner 6LXB engine. Daimler was taken over by Leyland.

Fleet numbering systems from many operators make most chassis codes seem understandable. Several of the buses featured on this site were new to parts of the Walter Alexander company which was split in 1961 into three component parts, Midland, Northern and Fife. Each persisted with a variation of Alexander’s type code system which used an alphabetical code for each vehicle type followed by a sequential number. Single deckers had codes which used varying degrees of logic: A for Albion, G for Guy or P for Leyland! Postwar Leyland Tigers, for example, became PA and PB. The new companies added a letter to the start of each code to signify ownership but they maintained the system and Leyland Leopards became FPE, MPE and NPE. Double-deckers used R codes meaning RB was a Leyland Titan and RF was a Daimler Fleetline.

After the split, each individual company applied the codes with varying degrees of consistency and logic. So FGA was a Fife Guy Arab, but FRD was a Fife Bristol Lodekka. In the 1980s the individual companies became less consistent, so Leyland Olympians at Northern were NLO while Fife’s were FRO. Both used LT for 1980s Leyland Tigers, but Northern only applied it to early coaches and also used NBT for buses and NCT for its later coaches. Other companies in the state-owned Scottish Bus Group were just as bad, the most notorious example probably being the depot codes of Edinburgh-based SMT which included ‘D’ for Galashiels and ‘G’ for Dalkeith!

Strathtay Scottish used a simplified form of Alexander’s type codes when it was formed in 1985 before moving to a simple numerical system in the early 1990s. Fife, Midland and Northern all moved to similar systems around the same time with blocks of figures still representing particular types of vehicles. Dundee Corporation and its successors always used a numerical system but applied in a different way where each successive delivery used up the next free batch of numbers. Often some renumbering of older vehicles was required to make this work.

What is a berry bus?

This is a general term for an old vehicle used by farmers to transport temporary workers from towns and cities. It is also a derogatory term for any tatty or elderly looking bus. Such vehicles were particularly popular with fruit farmers on Tayside where berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc) are the principal crop but vehicles were often used in a similar way by other farmers and building contractors. Meffan of Kirriemuir also supplied vehicles for this kind of work. The use of buses in this way began to decline from the 1980s onwards due to the tightening up of driving and maintenance legislation and the growing use of foreign labour on farms. The huge benefit of berry buses for the preservation movement is that it helped to ensure the survival of a large number of vehicles that might otherwise have been lost.

Why doesn’t the site display properly?

Some browsers on some devices may have trouble displaying some aspects of the website. Changing to a different browser may help but if you have a specific problem please contact us.

I know about a bus you might be interested in

Please let us know! We don’t have unlimited resources, but especially if it’s a vehicle with a connection to the Dundee or Tayside area we may well be interested. You can get in touch with us through our contact page.

There’s a lot of vehicles here, do you own them all?

Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society owns a small number of vehicles, the other vehicles are owned by one or more individuals who are members of the Society.

I’d be interested in helping out, can I become a member?

Certainly, membership of the Society costs £30 per year (the membership year runs from 01 May) and is open to anybody aged 18 and over. If you join part-way through the membership year you will only pay for the number of months remaining. Please get in touch with us through our contact page.