"See the uncrowded, unhurried Scotland on the postman's round."
Postbus advertising copy
The roots of the modern, motorised Postbus service lie in the mail coaches that used to convey both passengers and mail across the country. The Postbus offers 'public transport' to areas where a commercial route is not available.
The Postbus travels a known route delivering and collecting mail, arriving and departing from set points and at roughly the same time on each journey. To pick up and drop off passengers on the way is an obvious extension of this.
When the first experimental trial was held, Morris J2 7-seater minibuses were used. This particular model had given long service to the Post Office. Four localities were covered for the early trials: between Llanidloes and Llangurig, Wales; Honiton-Dunkeswell-Luppitt, Devon; Penrith-Martindale in the Lake District and Dunbar-Innerwick, Scotland.
The first route to become operational was in Wales, starting on 20 February 1967. Since then, the Postbus has become a nationwide service that includes over two hundred routes, mostly in rural areas.
Popular with tourists, the Postbus has also proven to be a vital lifeline to isolated communities.
A number of different makes of vehicle are used today, from Peugeot estates in towns to Land Rovers in the more remote areas with their rougher, unmade roads.
Each year, Postbuses carry over 125,000 passengers and cover some 4.5 million miles. All routes and timetables are available through the Royal Mail website.
The last image below is a curiosity from the Post Office publicity department. It shows two Daleks trying to board the Sittingbourne Postbus, and being rather challenged by the step up into the vehicle! We think that these galactic conquerors were at large in Sittingbourne because it was the home of Doctor Who writer Terry Nation, the man who created the Daleks.
Postbus being hailed, late 1960s
Passengers with Aboyne Postbus
Daleks trying to board Postbus