Founder of Halifax bus company TJ Walsh dies aged 88

Trevor Walsh who founded TJ Walsh buses
Trevor Walsh who founded TJ Walsh buses

The founder of a Halifax bus company and one of the first independent ventures in the UK has died aged 88.

Trevor Walsh started work at 14-years-old and by the age of 20 realised his passion in life was probably driving.

At 21 he took his first driving test not in a car but in a bus, then in a lorry. From then until July 2018 at the age of 88yrs he was still driving having driven for millions of miles, all in the UK.

He eventually settled to driving coaches and then minibuses for Abbeyways for the owner and his friend Geoffrey Wainwright.

In 1983 the contracts and a minibus was purchased from Geoffrey and TJ Walsh Minibus Services was founded carrying out contracts for businesses and the local authority.

In 1987, bus services were deregulated and T J Walsh was one of the first independent companies in the UK to apply to run a bus service. It just ran daily on a very low frequency in between contracts.

In 1996 a decision to take all contract work away from coach operators and move it in house meant Trevor had to look elsewhere for work.

With help from Geoffrey Wainwright, a massive bus enthusiast Trevor began running the 525 Ovenden Way route to and from Halifax.

The difference was that market research had shown that people wanted to board and alight buses next to the shops and the Borough Market. It was referred to as the Happy Bus.

Using this principle and continuing with Trevor’s philosophy that the customer pays the wages so look after them the company grew eventually at its peak carrying 1.25 million customers a year.

Trevor retired from bus driving but still kept in touch by being a customer assistant six days a week helping passengers get on and off the buses in the town centre.

He was married to the late Vera Walsh, and they had four children. six grandchildren and five great grandchildren and lived in Illingworth for 58 yrs.

Son Neil said: "He was always smiling and always courteous believing that if you treated people with respect, they would respond in a similar manner."

Trevor’s funeral is on Tuesday December 18 2018 at 2.15pm Park Wood Crematorium, Elland.

A bus will be leaving Union Street [504 stop] at 1.45pm to go to the crematorium should anyone want to attend who has no transport.