Last lap for Isle bus after decades of service

It was the final run for the Selwyn Motors Saturday Shopper Service from Belton to Doncaster on Saturday. Pictured is Barry Dood of Selwyn Motors.
It was the final run for the Selwyn Motors Saturday Shopper Service from Belton to Doncaster on Saturday. Pictured is Barry Dood of Selwyn Motors.

A public bus service that has run between the Isle and Doncaster for decades made its final journey last weekend.

Barry Dodd has single-handedly run the regular 292 Saturday shopping service from his yard on Westgate Road, Belton, to Doncaster via Epworth and Sandtoft for around 50 years.

Selwyn’s Motors was started up by Mr Dodd’s grandfather, William Jackson, in 1920 and continued by his parents, Eric and Queenie Dodd (nee Jackson), from 1935.

Their service, that ran seven vehicles at its peak, was heavily in demand during wartime, transporting workers to and from Sandtoft airfield as it developed, then RAF personnel who were stationed there.

The long-standing Saturday run would leave Belton at 9.45am to arrive in Doncaster at 10.42am and return in the late afternoon at 4pm.

The decision to end the service that has dwindled in passenger numbers in recent years, was taken by Mr Dodds in light of new bus requirements for disabled and buggy ‘platforms’ that would prove too costly to install.

But he is not retiring from work and will continue to run as a private hire company with his two remaining coaches. The ‘double decker’ is to be sold on.

Both Mr Dodd’s late mother Queenie, and late partner, Barbara, worked as conductresses within the business. He and his mother opted to continue it after tragedy struck with the loss of his father. Eric Dodd died from an injury caused by his falling in to one of the bus inspection pits.

Seventy-eight-years old Mr Dodd still maintains and drives his 49 and 53-seater vehicles himself, with part-time help.

He said: “It’s a sad day. I’m reluctant to end the Saturday service but it’s no longer profitable. School contracts kept me going at one time but license and insurance costs alone top £1500. It’s just not viable.”

He continued: “I’ve plenty to keep me busy with airport runs and such like and the vehicles need work to keep them in condition. I’ve no other hobbies as such.

“I will still be going in to Doncaster on a Saturday to do my shopping and see friends, but I’ll make the trip in my car rather than the bus. It’ll be strange at first.”

Former local users of the ‘hail and ride’ 292 service that had no specific stops, said the run had become something of an institution in the Isle and would be sadly missed.