Norrie Thomas in the News

The so-called “doubting Thomases”, so dubbed by the National Bus Company for their less than enthusiastic approach to minibuses, dropped out of the news when Stagecoach took over Western Travel in 1993.

But today, one of them, Norrie, is back in the news. Norrie was initially commercial then managing director of the newly-privatised Cheltenham & Gloucester Omnibus Company Ltd, from 1986. He had some tough decisions to make while at the helm and, in Stroud, this included pulling out of the bus station.

And his return to the news? As the person nominated by the Chalford Tennis Club to cut the ribbon to open their new facilities (since it was his business planning that saw the changes happen).

And, as for minibuses, C&G’s initial scepticism soon turned to enthusiasm when the Gloucester and the Cheltenham minibus networks returned increases in ridership of up to 25 per cent. Was it something of a Damascus Road conversion? Minibuses were planted in Stroud, too, but by then their revolutionary appeal had faded. Nevertheless, by 1997, half of Stagecoach’s Stroud’s fleet strength was provided by minibuses.

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