This month saw the return of a transport icon to the West of England
– the giant badger!


badgerlineFirst West of England has painted one of its buses in the Badgerline colour scheme to celebrate the company’s launch in 1985


Badgers were once a familiar sight in the West of England, roaming the roads on the side of Badgerline’s ‘cheese and onion’-liveried buses.

Based in Weston-super-Mare, Badgerline Group grew rapidly following deregulation of the bus industry and the badger logo first appeared on buses in 1985.

Badgerline bought bus companies across the country and built up a 4,000-strong fleet before merging with Aberdeen’s GRT Group to form First Bus in June 1995. After that the badgers were culled, with all vehicles eventually adorned with First’s universal ‘Barbie’ livery.

This month, however, the badger was brought back from retirement by First West of England. The company, which is now headed by a former Badgerline Group employee, James Freeman, has painted one of its buses in the Badgerline livery (pictured above) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the company’s launch.

“It is with much pride that we celebrate the launch of one of the key ingredients that created First as it is today,” said Freeman.

“This bus looks really smart and we hope it inspires a sense of nostalgia from our customers and pride amongst our staff.”

If the Badgerline brand had not been binned after the 1995 merger, how might it have evolved? Swindon-based marketing agency MHD Partnership has offered an answer by giving it a modern twist. The creative firm is currently showcasing its design skills by taking defunct public transport operators from around the country and “reinventing their brands for the roads of 2015”.

The reworked Badgerline brand (pictured below) can be viewed online at along with other examples of the company’s work.

new_badgerlineThe MHD Partnership has given the Badgerline brand a modern twist

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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