"Scotland's Independent Coach Operators" by David Devoy looks at some well-known, and some less well-known, independent coach operators from the last fifty years in an attractively-presented format. David Devoy is an acknowledged expert on the history of Scottish buses and coaches, and we have reviewed a number of his books in the past. This one follows a similar format to others we have seen, with a four-page introduction that sets the scene, before taking the reader straight in to the body of the book. This is made up of colour photographs of coaches, all taken from a front three-quarters angle that shows their subjects off to best effect. Each photograph is accompanied by a paragraph of caption that gives you everything you need to know about what you are looking at; where the photograph was taken; and when the photograph was taken. The result will be an attractive and informative addition to the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in coaches in Scotland.
The context, set out in the introduction, is nicely summarised on the rear cover. "As with everything, the coach industry has changed beyond all recognition over the past few decades. In the past, an operator would purchase a coach and run it for many years to get back their initial investment. More often than not, lightweight chassis were purchased because of the lower purchase price, and these could be changed every few years, keeping a modern look to the fleet. It was always more important in the coach industry to have the latest style. Things began to change in the 1960s as motorways were built and higher speeds were required. Vehicles were being worked harder and heavier chassis became more popular. Although the initial purchase price was much more expensive, they required less maintenance as components were stronger. The coach market was deregulated from 1980, allowing express services to be run and some firms took advantage of this."
As ever with a book like this, one of the joys is looking past the main subject of the photographs to catch glimpses of a Scotland that in many cases has changed significantly since the moment in time that has been captured by the author through his camera lens.