- Founded in January 1995, Countywide Travel was a bus and coach operator based at a depot near Basingstoke Railway station and serviced parts of Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey using vehicles obtained from Marchwood Motorways.
- In 1998, Countywide Travel relocated to the depot of the former operator Oakley Coaches near Oakley.
- In 2001, Countywide Travel expanded throughout the Fleet area taking over operations from Tillingbourne Bus Company who ceased trading in April that year.
- In October 2007, Countywide Travel sold the coach side of their business to Weavaway Travel, to concentrate on their bus operations, and relocated to Crondall. The company was renamed Fleet Buzz, and bus routes were given 70-series numbers. This saw the historic Reading to Aldershot route 12 to become the 72.
- In 2008 and 2009, Fleet Buzz bought four brand new Optare Versas and four new Optare Solos.
- In October 2011, Fleet Buzz was bought by Stagecoach South, but kept Fleet Buzz as a separate identity. Stagecoach as well as making many changes to the network, also introduced new Fleet Buzz branding for the 72 & 82 routes including characters and slogan lines for each of the four Versas:
- "Sounds like a plan" says Stan
- "Keeps the air sweet" thinks Pete
- "Time to get busy" says Lizzie
- "More money for the pot" says Dot
Recognising which bus was which character just required remembering which number plate belonged to which.
Stan: MX09 AOJ Pete: MX09 AOK
Lizzie: MX58 KZC Dot: MX58 KZD
The bee graphics that Stagecoach used for the characters were purchased from a royalty free image provider, then were further enhanced for the Fleet Buzz brand by their marketing team.
- During July and August 2014, extra Stagecoach liveried Solos and Darts entered the fleet and December saw the first of the Fleet Buzz buses being withdrawn, of which were the four Versas due to their expired five year lease.
- On the 31st of December 2014, the Fleet Buzz website was updated to announce the end of Fleet Buzz, three years after the Stagecoach takeover.
Click here to see an archive of the website before this change..
- Starting from the 5th January 2015, route 72 replaced the 30 from Fleet up to Farnborough meaning it no longer went to Aldershot. The rest of the 30 between Fleet and Basingstoke was also withdrawn. Route 31 also saw it's end of light as well as the 77 except for one journey in the morning and evening. Route 11 got separated from Fleet Buzz, the 41 & 42 were given slightly shorter routes, the 82 was given an extra morning journey, and the 80 & 83 remained unchanged as school routes from Yateley.
- The Fleet Buzz Crondall depot continued to operate the 41, 42, 72, 80, 82, 83 & 77 routes until the 23rd May 2015, when all operations changed to Stagecoach Aldershot. Some Fleet Buzz staff and buses moved to the Aldershot depot, other staff moved to the Basingstoke depot and other buses were either scrapped or transferred to other operaters.
- On the 1st September 2015, Stagecoach changed the 72 to the 7 (the second renumbering of the route), the 82 to the 8 and reintroduced the 30 as the 10. The 7 again went to Aldershot from Reading, and the 10 went to Church Crookham from Farnborough instead of to Basingstoke and Zebon Copse.
- On the 30th October 2016, Stagecoach re-routed the route 7 considerably in Fleet. The route circled around Elvetham Heath, traveled through Hitches Lane and Dukes Mead, out onto Reading Road North and down the highstreet. The route then turned onto Kings Road, then Aldershot Road, and back out onto Reading Road South towards Aldershot and vice versa. This resulted in the route no longer calling called at Fleet Station besides a few evening and morning journeys.
- On the 16th May 2017, Fleet Buzz was dissolved from being a registered private limited company.
- In 2018, due to council cuts, Stagecoach withdrew from operating the 7 & 8 beyond Hartley Wintney & Eversley into Reading. From April 16th, Reading Buses commercially took over the 7 between Reading and Fleet, later branding it as the Tiger using former Scarlet 9 Enviro 200 CNG buses.
- On the 17th February 2019, Stagecoach cut the 10's frequency from every half hour to every hour between Fleet and Farnborough to free up resources for other routes due to the 10 being commercially run. At the same time, Stagecoach stopped running their half of the 7 further north beyond Elvetham Heath besides one weekday return journey for lunchtime shoppers.
To recuperate losses, Stagecoach also introduced a merged short running route of the 7 and 10 that operated between the two route's full length hourly services. This saw buses do a full route on one route, travel back to Fleet as that route, swap over and finish as the other route, and then do the full length of that other route. This allowed less resources being used, whilst still providing a half hourly route between Church Crookham and Fleet, as well as providing such frequency for Elvetham Heath too.
- Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Stagecoach had to cut some journeys on the 10 in order to allow double deck operations to allow social distancing for students, whilst being able to provide duplicate operations for other routes. This saw an end to the short route merger of the 10 and 7, and ever since, the 10's timetable became quite infrequent, as well as a two hour frequency for the 7.
- In August 2020, after about 4 years, the domain name Fleet Buzz used to use for their official website, fleetbuzz.co.uk, is home. It's had quite a journey from landing pages, to being listed for auction for triple figures on Sedo, to weird banking blogs, and to a Mercedes van dealer in Manhattan, since being let go by Stagecoach in 2015. Now it joins fleetbuzz.uk, and the former name countywidetravel.co.uk, here at home connected to this enthusiast site about Fleet Buzz.
- On the 1st October 2021, the first Fleet Buzz vehicle to be preserved and fully restored since ownership in mid 2020, Dennis Dart 33306 (AE51 VFV), took to the roads, buzzing around Hampshire for the first time since leaving service in 2015. The inaugural outing, after passing it's MOT with flying colours, took place around Andover, Basingstoke, Hook, Odiham, Fleet and Farnborough, recreating parts of what was the Farnborough to Basingstoke route 30.
- On the 9th October 2021, a Bluestar bus, Enviro 400MMC 1237 (HF68 DYB), was named after John Chadwick, at a naming ceremony held in his honour by former colleagues, friends and family in Southampton. John was the founder of Countywide Travel, and co-founder of Solent Blue Line, now known as Go-Ahead's Bluestar. John sadly passed away earlier in the year. Thank you for the yellow and black buses John. You've left quite the legacy.
- On the 20th November 2021, 33306, spent the day fully recreating the route 30 between Basingstoke and Farnborough. It also, along with it's preservation buddy 524 (J524 GCD), recreated the Hampshire Bus Basingtoke to Brighton Hill route 59. Props to James at Southdown Preservation Group for bringing Stan back to life. And thanks for giving this site some free advertising too. 😏 Pictures of this and the previous outing of 33306 can be viewed here on this flickr album, with thanks to RootyMasters.
- On the 17th January 2022, Reading Buses' half of the route 7 between Reading and Fleet was suspended indefinitely until the 14th March 2022, when it got partially reinstated for important journeys between Reading and Riseley.
- On the 2nd April 2022, 33306 attended South East Bus Festival at Detling, it's first rally since entering preservation. There it met 33305 (AE51 VFX). 33305 never saw service with Fleet Buzz like 33306 and 33307 (AE51 VFU), but is one of the trio new to Cavalier Travel in 2001. Sadly 33307 wasn't also able to be there due to being scrapped back in 2016.
- On the 11th April 2022, Stagecoach's half of the route 7 between Fleet and Aldershot got re-routed to a more direct route between Church Crookham and Aldershot. Additionally, Fleet Station became included in the route again.
- On the 17th July 2022, 33306 attended it's second major event, Alton Bus Rally and Running Day. It lead a convoy to Alton from Basingstoke Railway Station with an ex Brighton & Hove Citaro bendibus (BL57 OXK), and Reading Buses' open-top Trident (Y524 ESC).
The above information on this page is a mixture of my own personal gathered information about Fleet Buzz from various bus drivers, enthusiasts, and also includes information gathered from Bus Zone, Wikipedia, UK Transport Wiki and Hants & Surrey Bus Blog.