Tributes to Ipswich's 'Mr Buses'

Barry Moore

Barry Moore with the launch of the Ipswich Buses open-top tours in 1993. - Credit: Archant

Barry Moore, the man known as Ipswich's "Mr Buses," has died suddenly at the age of 81 after a lifetime of working and campaigning for better public transport.

Mr Moore moved to Ipswich to run the borough council's bus service in 1979 and seven years later oversaw its transfer to becoming a council-owned bus company.

He took early retirement in 1995 - but remained a strong campaigner for the pressure group Transport 2000 and served a four-year term as Labour County Councillor for what was then the Whitehouse Division.

Mr Moore was born in 1941 in Bournemouth and started his working life as a research chemist with the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

However having qualified he decided that was not the career for him - and became a management trainee with Leicester's municipal bus company in his 30s.

While working there he met his wife Muriel.

She said: "He found the work as a research chemist very isolating and a friend who knew he was interested in buses suggested he should make the change.

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"He went to Leicester and did this management course that involved going to other operators to learn the job and ended with a medal for the best work."

Mr Moore eventually became traffic superintendent at Leicester before moving to Plymouth as deputy manager of that city's bus company. From there he moved to Ipswich.

His time at Ipswich was one of great change for the bus industry with privatisation and deregulation on the political agenda. In 1986 Ipswich became one of 58 towns and cities to have its municipal bus company transformed.

Some were privatised. Many, like Ipswich Buses, became private businesses owned by their local council.

In the last 36 years most of these have been sold off although Ipswich Council has retained its ownership of the bus company.

Ipswich Buses directors

Barry Moore (left) with then engineering director Bill Hunter inspecting a new bus in the 1980s. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Moore was a widow with two children when she met her husband, and said he had been the perfect father and grandfather.

One daughter died young, but her surviving daughter and six grandchildren all remembered him fondly: "He was always called Barry, not Grandad, but they always went to him with any problems they may have had."

Mr Moore's deputy and successor as managing director Malcom Robson said: "Barry was very committed to the idea of municipal transport and to public transport in general.

"I was managing director for 20 years after his retirement but we met up regularly for lunch in The Plough where we see the buses!"

Current Ipswich Buses general manager Stephen Bryce tweeted his own tribute.

During his four years on the the county council, Mr Moore was a strong champion of public transport. Fellow Labour councillor and current deputy group leader Sandy Martin said: "Barry was always pushing the case and as there was a Labour-led administration it was perhaps a bit easier to get his view across."

Mrs Moore said her husband had died very suddenly and peacefully: "He hadn't really been ill. He just went to sleep and died. The ambulance people were wonderful, they came here within five minutes of my 999 call but they couldn't bring him back."