Changes to the bus industry in 2005 provided new opportunities for small, independent companies. The decision was made to focus on local bus service operation in Torbay, under the current brand name 'Local Link'. The introduction of free local, then national concessionary fares has since changed the business beyond recognition. Local Link operates 15 bus routes, with a modern fleet of midi and minibuses. Most of the fleet are low-floor, to facilitate easy access for wheelchair users, or parents with small children in buggies.
Dial-A-Bus and Local Link are trading names of Chelston Leisure Services Ltd.
Registered number: 4803305
VAT registration number: 818021456
Dial a Bus
was started in 1988 by Derek Briggs, a former Wallace Arnold coach driver, with over 40 years experience. His service used 12-seater Mercedes minibuses and ran along Torquay seafront to Cockington Village, carrying thousands of visitors to the historic manor each summer.
This was a niche market, as large coaches and buses were not permitted to enter Cockington. Hotel owners and coach operators would call upon Derek to transport guests into the village.
Chelston Leisure Services
In 2003, Derek Briggs met Derek French, managing director of Chelston Leisure Services. The latter wanted to use Dial-A-Bus to transport walking parties. As Derek Briggs had been considering retirement to spend more time with his family, he suggested it might make more sense long-term to buy the business, rather than hire the buses. In July that year, Chelston Leisure Services became the new owners, with Derek and Jeanette French as directors.
Initially the business was run in conjunction with 'Walking Westward', Chelston Leisure's tour and walking operation, but this was phased out in 2005.