On Saturday 16th December 2017 D. Jones and Son ceased operating when the last bus arrived back at the Acrefair depot.
The partnership of father and son, David and Gary Jones, actually started about 1995 following the split of a business partnership that traded as E. Jones and Sons of Rhosllanerchrugog. This family business was initially that of a coal merchant but in 1969 the business diversified and they purchased a minibus when the activities involving solid fuel began to decline. At that stage the family members were Elias Jones, the father, with David and Selwyn Jones who were the eldest sons. Soon the minibus was successful and some school contracts were obtained which necessitated the purchase of further minibuses. The first full-size vehicle arrived in 1976 – PXG971M which was a Bedford VAS5/Plaxton Elite III. By that time a third brother Gwyn had joined the partnership. Gwyn had been a time-served mechanic. Unfortunately in 1978 Elias died, but his fourth son Barry joined the partnership after he spent some time working in Australia. The business expanded following the retirement of Hughie Phillips who ran the business of J. Phillips of Rhostyllen. The stage carriage element of the Phillips’ business, involving the Rhos to Wrexham service, was sold to Crosville but four coaches were sold to E. Jones and Sons together with the private hire goodwill and some lucrative contracts. A further significant acquisition occurred in 1985 when the business of M. A. Evans and Son of Wrexham was purchased. A fleet involving six vehicles was taken over. The business involved a number of local area services in the eastern area of Wrexham. The fleet mainly involving ex Jersey Bedford SB/Duple Vega coaches was soon replaced by more modern service buses and a distinctive branding for the buses was used using a light blue, orange and white livery.
The split in the business occurred in about 1995 following disagreements apparently involving the direction of the firm. Initially David and his son Gary continued to trade as E. Jones and Sons differentiating this portion of the business using the word Passenger in the name. Three vehicles came from the main business to David and Gary:- FBX561W, a Bedford YMQ/ Duple Dominant Bus (B50F), TTA650X, a Dennis Lancet/WS Vanguard II (B52F) and MEP970X, a Dennis Lancet/WS Vanguard II (B53F). David and Gary operated most of the service work that had previously been run by M A Evans, whereas Gwyn and Barry concentrated on private hire and the contracts which were mainly schools and with some factory workings.
David and Gary soon distinguished their fleet by using a blue and white livery removing the orange banding. By 1998 David and Gary had changed their trading name to D. Jones and Son and later established a depot in Acrefair. They slowly increased the fleet and in January 2000 they purchased their first new bus, a Dennis Dart SLF/SCC Nimbus (B47F) which received the cherished number V12DJS. This was withdrawn in early 2017.
For a short period a decker was utilised, E477SON, a MCW Metrobus which arrived in December 2001, but it left the company twelve months later.
In July 2007 the business took over the ex-Crosville C56 Chester to Wrexham service via Farndon from Huxley's of Threapwood. They purchased a brand new Solo DK07NPY to operate this work which was the third new Solo to join the fleet.
In July 2008 they took over the stage carriage work of George Edwards and Son which involved services from Wrexham to Bwlchgwyn, Gwynfryn and Minera. George Edwards continued in business with private hire, school contracts and also a holiday and touring business. Two vehicles changed hands P2WAL, DAF SB220 / Ikarus 480 (B49F) and S403JUA, a DAF SB220 / Optare Delta (B49F). The Ikarus was withdrawn a month later with fire damage, but the Delta lasted a year obtaining the D. Jones and Son blue and white fleet livery. They were replaced by two ADL Dart/MCV Evolutions, AE07DZB/C.
The fleet gradually increased and in 2010 the licensed number of a vehicles was ten. In 2012 it was twelve and in 2015 it increased to fifteen. A number of school and college contracts were secured and service schedules were cleverly arranged to allow most vehicles to work a school run before resuming their service work. Some vehicles were obtained especially for the contracts including BX56XAO, a BMC 1100FE (B55FL) which arrived in September 2014 and also YX05AVK, a Mercedes-Benz Vario/Autobus Classique arrived in September 2015. Also in May 2015 FJ06BOU a Volvo B7R/Plaxton Profile (C70F) with severe accident damage was obtained with the intention of repairing it for service. However this project was never completed.
In August 2016 following the collapse of GHA, the business responded to the challenge. Their first action was to immediately register the Wrexham to Llangollen service. Unfortunately Arriva also registered this service. Within a couple of days of the collapse they had begun to operate the Llangollen service with four vehicles on a twenty-minute frequency. They also worked the 40/41 Wrexham Industrial Estate service which required two vehicles. Within a week they had purchased three ex-Webberbus Optare Versas YJ60LTA/F/N which went straight into service in their white, yellow and green livery.
Further ex-GHA services were taken on at a later date. In September the partners decided to take on commercially the 44 Barkers Lane Service. They did that after discontinuing their 39 Hullah Lane service. This 39 service was one of the successor services from M. A. Evans.
Following the disqualification of the licences owned by RJ's of Wem Limited, D. Jones and Son took over the 146 Wrexham to Whitchurch service. When with GHA this was a two-vehicle PVR service providing an hourly frequency. However the new subsidy provided by Wrexham had reduced this to only four journeys to the Shropshire town. They also took over the 6 - Wrexham to Ruabon service in February 2017.
It appeared that the business intended to diversify further by entering the private hire sector. SU06FKP a Scania K114EB4/ Irizar PB (C55Ft) was purchased in September 2016 and CS07JDS a Scania K380EB4/Irizar Century (C49Ft) arrived in February 2017. Whilst these two coaches did undertake college contracts, they did not appear to be well used for other private hire work as anticipated.
Further improvements were made to the fleet during 2017. YJ12NBN, an Optare M970 Solo SR, came in August 2017. Sister vehicle NBO was also expected to arrive, but the owners Marchants of Cheltenham found themselves short of vehicles and cancelled the sale. The last vehicle to be purchased was YJ13HHX, an Optare V1210 Versa. It had a very unusual B49F seating format involving 3 + 2 arrangements at the rear of the vehicle which was suitable for main service work. It also had most of the side and rear windows tinted. Both of the latest acquisitions were given the fleet livery and also during the year the three ex-Webber Versas were repainted into fleet livery.
Following the sudden closure on 16th December 2017 steps were immediately taken to start selling the fleet. This process took nearly three years - the last two vehicles (AE07DZB/C - MCV bodied Darts) leaving in November 2020.
Photo courtesy Keith Newton
Photo courtesy Keith Newton
HISTORIC FLEET LIST
The table below gives a list of all recorded vehicles known to have been with this operator. I am indebted to David Donati for his dedicated work in compiling this data and enabling me to present it.
In the right hand column - where available - there is a link to a photograph of the vehicle. The photo will open in a new window. Links in CAPITAL LETTERS suggest the vehicle is seen when with the operator.
Chassis and body numbers are to be found on the right hand side of the table below. You may need to scroll to see them.