Obsolete badges

Yes, I know, bus crews don’t wear those badges any more.

But, as you will have gathered, I have one foot in the past and I like to dress the part when conducting on a vintage* bus. That’s why, if you’re a passenger on the Service 400 “Exmoor Explorer” when I’m rostered, you’ll see me kitted out as a 1960s bus conductor. [Edit: sadly this service no longer runs. Also, I no longer work for that operator!]

Bus crews all over the country were issued with Public Service Vehicle (PSV) badges (red for a driver or green for a conductor) to show that they were licenced to drive a bus in service or to collect fares. Every crew member had his or her unique number. The badges were issued by the Traffic Commissioners and bore a code which signified the area in which the the crew member lived. For instance, the Western Area Office was in Bristol and issued “HH” badges.

PSV badges were phased out in the mid 1980s and, although they were actually owned by the Traffic Commissioners and should have been handed back, there are many still in circulation today as collectors’ items. For more information, head over to Stephen Howarth’s excellent website where you can also see examples from his extensive collection of PSV badges.

Incidentally, even the term PSV has been phased out. Buses and coaches are now classed as Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) and it is a PCV driver’s test that I’m aiming to pass next year. [Edit: I passed!]

* ‘Vintage’, ‘Classic’ and ‘Heritage’ are all terms to describe a bus or coach that’s generally 30 or more years old.

40 comments on “Obsolete badges

  1. Bob Mockford says:

    Conductors badges were phased out earlier although some companies then issued their own. We paid a deposit, in my case 2s6d (12½p), which was refunded and we were allowed to keep the badges.

  2. […] Obsolete badges November 2009 2 comments 4 […]

  3. stuart baxter says:

    hi you may want to check out batemans auctions stamford lincolnshire, as there is a old bus drivers badge for sale in tomorows auction sat 3rd september

  4. Bernie Pardue says:

    I was a driver for Birkenhead Transport in the fifties and am trying get a
    badge CC preferably in the 40000 range. Any other ex Corpo drivers in
    contact I would be delighted to hear from you.

  5. Jon says:

    PSV Conductor licensing (and therefore the issue of badges) ended as a result of the 1981 Transport Act (although most operators had – if not gone completely OMO – ceased taking on new conductors by then) – a number of operators did subsequently issue their own conductor badges in a variety of styles – I have seen examples from Blackpool, Devon General, Nottingham, Ribble, South Yorks PTE, and of course London Buses (there may well be others.) I am also aware of one or two independents that bought surplus badges from the Commissioners to issue to their own staff.

    PSV driver badges ceased being issued around 1991/2 when PSV became PCV.

    An added complication in the run up to the end of badge issue was that some newly qualified drivers got issued with badges bearing the “wrong” area letters – I assume this was because some areas had run out of badges and others had plenty to spare, and it was not considered worth having new badges made. I am aware that a few months’ worth of new London drivers got issued with “LL” badges (previously the Scottish highlands office), and the last few drivers to be issued with PSV badges at Potteries got “CC” (north west area) badges instead of the usual “DD” (west midlands area) badges.

    Even more companies issued their own PSV style badges, in an even greater variety of styles – some (I’m aware of Nottingham and Maidstone & District) even using green edged badges for drivers.

    • busmanjohn says:

      Thank you Jon for your interesting reply. There seem to be a lot of PSV badges changing hands at the moment so it’s good to read some of the background to the ‘phasing out’ stage of their history. You are either a historian or (looking at your email address) an ex-busman!

  6. Michael Smith says:

    I passed by psv test in 1988 at Purfleet, Essex, and was issued with a GG badge instead of the usual N London badge. GG was issued to Cardiff drivers so I assume that by this time the London supplies had run out.

  7. tom scott says:

    trying to find out who were the driver and conductor who were issued with the following numbers ie
    MM 125123 conductor
    MM 62217 Driver
    Can you please ,if its possible, point me in the right direction as to where to find out.
    Many thanks.
    Tom Scott

    • busmanjohn says:

      Hello Tom, I don’t know if there is a way to find out who was issued with particular badges. The only person I know who knows all about badges is Stephen Howarth (he’s been collecting them for a long time). Click the ‘Stephen Howarth Badges’ link to get in touch.

  8. tom says:

    thanks very much

  9. carl wilcockson says:

    Hi , I’m trying to trace my late grandfathers PSV badge No, its an AA area, he worked for the United and the Eden Bus Co’s, sadly I don’t have any dates only his DOB which is 02-07-23. Can you or anyone else point me in the right direction please , I’m a pcv driver myself for Go North East. Thankyou.

  10. Bryce Baxter says:

    Tom Don’t know if this helps, but back in the early 70s when I was a student, I worked for Baxter’s Bus Services (no relation) part of Scottish Omnibuses. My conductor’s badge was MM 107820 issued on 1 April 1970 and my driver’s badge was MM 65223 issued on 9 June 1972. They were both issued by the Commissioners for the Scottish Traffic Area, 24 Torphichen Street, Edinburgh EH3 8HD.

  11. dennis pawley says:

    please I am trying to trace proof that I passed my psv with sunderland district omnibus in or around 1968

  12. dennis pawley says:

    my psv badge no is AA34745 if that might help

  13. Jack says:

    any ex drivers from Bristol Omnibus around mid 70’s? would like to share a few stories

  14. les purbrick says:

    Hi , just read that HH drivers badges were phased out mid 80s so how do you explain mine 1990 HH61220 lawrence hill bristol ?

    • busmanjohn says:

      This blog isn’t a definitive reference work, just a bit of fun. I was just passing on info provided by another reader. It’s possible that both of us were wrong on the phasing out date, but I don’t really need to ‘explain’ anything. Perhaps I will edit the post to say “some time ago”.

  15. susan says:

    Hi could anyone help me please?I have aquired quite a few bus badges and was wondering were I could get them valued?

  16. tom mcelroy says:

    hi I passed my driver test in 1991 .
    and was given badge no.LB 11175.where did that come from please.

  17. Geoff says:

    I have a psv badge,n 37063,I want to know how much it’s worth,I passed my test in 83 at chiswick work london

  18. Ian says:

    It’s worth around £50 £120 to a collector with that number

  19. Mike says:

    Just stumbled upon this site. What would my old badge be worth ? EE 53363

  20. Tracey rhodes says:

    I’m wondering if you could help, I found a PS3 badge in the Glencoe part of Scotland its number is MM 41034 and is for a driver and wondered if you could trace any further details about its history
    Thanks again Trace

  21. As a PCV driver myself, it would be nice to have a retro style one of these myself.
    Wonder if it would be possible to have one made?

  22. Duncan Noel SMITH says:

    Just acquired aPSV drivers badge at a local car boot sale.It’s number is EE50814.
    Can anyone she’d any light on its past history please.??

  23. james says:

    Hi busmanjohn
    I have been clearing out some of my old stuff and have come across my old badges, from when I was (on the busses), lots of memory’s and it true what they say if you wrote down what happened no one would believe you.
    I was BB75860 Sheffield SYPTE.
    Good ole days.

  24. Thomas Richardson says:

    Is there a site where I can find out who was issued with badge No BB 72649

  25. Mike says:

    Any Idea how I would find out what my old badge number was? I was a conductors in Sheffield around 1972

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