our history

Early Years

On 22 September 1904 Swindon Corporation opened its tramway system in the town with a depot in Corporation Street.

During 1927 the first motor buses were introduced to cover the areas not served by the trams. Additional buses were bought in 1928 to serve the expanding Swindon Borough boundary. 

The trams were replaced by buses between 6 May and 11 July 1929, when the last tram ran.

1940s and 1950s

During the second world war several bus services were curtailed. However, new factories were built around the outskirts of Swindon to aid the war effort with new and expanded services to these sites for workers. 

In 1940 women conductors were taken on to replace men called up for military service.

In the 1950s the town expanded and new areas served were Penhill, Walcot East, Lawn, Park North and Park South.

1960s and 1970s

The town continued to expand in the 1960s with the Princess Margaret Hospital, Covingham and Greenmeadow joining the network.

The first service to be operated by the driver only (i.e. without a conductor to take the fares) was started on 4 May 1969.

On 1 April 1974 Swindon Corporation Transport was renamed Thamesdown Transport following the major reorganisation of local government.

1980s and 1990s

From the early 80s a coaching fleet was built up undertaking private hires, coastal expresses and holiday tours. All such activities were stopped in 2002 so that the company could concentrate on its core business of local bus services.

On 27 September 1986 Thamesdown Transport became a limited company at ‘arms length’ from the owning borough council ready for deregulation.

Deregulation of local bus services came into effect on 26 October 1986.

In the 80s Thamesdown’s buses became a familiar sight in rural areas around Swindon operating various replacement services which had been withdrawn by Bristol Omnibus. 

In 1996 the first ‘low floor’ buses were introduced and today all our services are operated by these types of buses.

2000 onwards

Services in the early 00s were expanded to serve the new north Swindon housing developments.

In December 2002 the town network was revised to serve the new Great Western Hospital at Common Head.

We celebrated our centenary in 2004. Events during the year included a talk about the trams, vintage bus services around the town, an exhibition at the Steam Museum and a special bus rally held at the Wroughton Science Museum on 12th September.

In July 2005 we vacated our Corporation Street depot and moved to a new modern purpose built one at Barnfield Road.

In November 2011 we won the 'Top Shire Operator' and 'UK Bus Operator of the Year' titles at the 2011 UK Bus Awards.

On 3rd February 2017 the Go Ahead Group acquired the company under its Go South Coast family.

In May 2017 eight new buses entered service in a new bright green, blue and red livery with Swindon's Bus Company branding. Then, current vehicles in the fleet started to be repainted into the new colours. In October a total of thirteen new low emission single deckers were introduced featuring wi-fi, USB charging and a 'social seating area' at the back of the buses.

On 19th November 2017 the Thamesdown fleet was merged into the main Go South Coast operator's licence. All local bus services now trade as the Swindon's Bus Company.