GRT Group

This article describes the bus group, for the Grampian Regional Transport bus company and successors/predecessors, see First Aberdeen
GRT Group

Founded January 1989
Ceased operation June 1995
Headquarters Aberdeen
Service area England
Service type Bus operator
Fleet 1,600 (June 1995)
Operator Grampian Regional Transport
Midland Scottish
Northampton Transport
Leicester CityBus
Eastern Counties
Scottish Motor Group
Lowland Scottish
Chief executive Moir Lockhead

GRT Group was a bus operating company in the United Kingdom from 1989 until 1995. It was formed when Grampian Regional Transport (GMT) was privatised. It went on to purchase a number of bus companies in England and Scotland. In April 1994, GRT Group was listed on the stock exchange, and in June 1995 merged with Badgerline to form FirstBus.


The GRT Group[1] was formed as a holding company to purchase Grampian Regional Transport, the city bus operator in Aberdeen, Scotland, in a management buyout. Motivation for the buyout was the 1988 announcement that the Scottish Bus Group was to be privatised, sparking fears that GRT could be acquired by a larger group and asset stripped.[2]

The buyout was achieved on 20 January 1989.[3] General Manager Moir Lockhead, together with four other managers, took a 51% stake in the new company, with employees holding 33%, and Aberdeen Asset Management and 3i the remaining 16%.[2][4] At the time GRT had a fleet of 200 buses and 500 employees.[5]

GRT Group went on to purchase other bus operators in England and Scotland. In April 1994, it was listed on the stock exchange.[6] In June 1995, GRT Group merged with Badgerline to form FirstBus.[6][7][8] GRT Group contributed 1,600 buses to the new company's fleet of 5,600.[2]


As GRT Holdings:[2][6]

As GRT Bus Group plc:[2][6]

Midland Scottish, Eastern Counties, Scottish Motor Traction and Lowland Scottish, were regional companies, with operating territories stretching over large areas comprising town and interurban services. The Northampton and Leicester operations were town based networks, like Grampian.


As GRT Group, the company had developed a form of corporate livery dictated by an arrangement of a horizontal and diagonal bands over a base colour. The colour scheme of the bands were derived from colours representative of the subsidiary company, while the base colour was chosen as cream. The companies retained their own version of a company logo. Some companies developed an alternate livery with a gold band for the introduction of new buses.

With the formation of FirstBus, the former GRT companies retained its corporate livery, with the individual company logos replaced with the company name in a new standard corporate typeface, along with a stylised f symbol representing FirstBus.


  1. Companies House extract company no SC114203 GRT Bus Group Limited formerly GRT Bus Group plc formerly GRT Holdings plc
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Men in lemon celebrate First's 20 years". Buses Magazine. Ian Allan Publishing (648). March 2009.
  3. Our history FirstGroup
  4. Grampian ESOP Agreed Commercial Motor 26 January 1989 page 15
  5. 1 2 3 Interview with Moir Lockhead Railway People 11 April 2006
  6. 1 2 3 4 Helm, Martin (January 2009). An incredible journey..the First story. Granta Editions. pp. 202–203. ISBN 978-1857570960.
  7. Badgerline links with GRT The Independent 5 April 1995
  8. Link-up creates second largest bus group: GRT and Badgerline in agreed £265m merger Herald Scotland 5 April 1995
  9. Deal doubles Grampian Commercial Motor 21 June 1990 page 20
  10. Northampton Borough council moves to privatise bus operations Local Government Chronicle 27 August 1993
  11. Government Approves 19th Bus Sale of Leicester Citybus Ltd Local Government Chronicle 15 November 1993
  12. Page detailing the history of Northampton Transport, detailing other GRT acquisitions
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