‘End of an era’ as Leasks bus departs Viking bus station for the last time

The family bus company that served Shetland for more than a century has made its final journey.

John Leask & Son’s Scalloway service left Viking bus station in Lerwick for the very last time this evening (Sunday), as crowds of well-wishers – including Jarl squad members – bid it a fond farewell. 

Brothers Peter and Andrew Leask, who have run the company – the third generation in the family to do so – remarked it was the “end of an era”.

Andrew, 69, said he was sad to see it go but also felt the time was right.

“There’s been so many good memories,” he said, 

“It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing  for the past 52 years.”

Andrew  started out in the business working part-time as a taxi driver, moving to full-time as soon as he left school. 

“I sat my last higher exam at 11am on the Thursday morning and was working full-time by 2pm that day,” he said. 

“It’s been a lot of work with not much time off.”

Andrew said he had particularly fond memories of Shetland’s oil boom in the 70s and 80s, when it was especially busy, as well as more recently with the gas plant. 

Despite the long hours, he said it had been a privilege to serve the Shetland community. 

The business was founded by Peter and Andrew’s grandfather, John Leask, in 1919 – and many other members of the family have been involved over the years. 

“We’re the last ones,” said Andrew. 

Peter, 71, who joined a few years after his brother, said he also had “mixed feelings” about the situation. 

While he was sad to see to see the business end, he also felt ready to retire. 

“Being involved in transport all these years has been great,” he added.

“You meet so many people, from both the public and the school services, as well as tourists in the summer time.

“There’s always something different going on.”

As well as the passengers, Peter said he also had fond memories of the buses themselves. 

He said they were much more than “just a box on wheels”.

“Every one has its own character,” he added.  

Between them, the brothers have 101 years of experience which, coincidentally, is the length of time Leaks has been operating. 

Bus driver Karl Maguire, who helped organise this evening’s send off said that after more than a century it was a “sad day for Shetland” .

“It’s the end of an era,” he said, 

Leaks services will be operated by four other companies from tomorrow. 


Add Your Comment

    • August 16th, 2020 23:38

    Very sad to hear this.I first rode in one of the buses in the 3rd of September, 1976 from Sumburgh Airport to the Gilbert Bain Hospital. It was a Saturday. I was meet by our Tutor Mr . Malcolm MacClean and directed me to the Nurses Home . It was even him who wheeled my luggage from the hospital to the Nurses Home .I have to start my Nurse Training the following Monday. I came from the Philippines 🇵🇭 . That was my first experience riding the Leask Bus and I felt safe and enjoyed my trip since then . Every time I go on holiday home and to anywhere else I always take the Leask Bus to and from Sumburgh Airport . It is a very realiable bus company . It’s very sad 😢 that it had to end . My best wishes for the two brothers Peter and Andrew , and all the drivers snd staff , a very LONG AND HAPPY RETIREMENT. KEEP SAFE AND TAKE CARE ALWAYS ! MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL !!!!!🙏🙏👍👍👍✌️✌️✌️❤️❤️❤️🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭

  • Ian Raymond

    • August 18th, 2020 20:11

    Ah, the end of an era. From my first proper visit to Shetland as a teenager in the 80’s, I automatically equated “Leasks” with “buses”. All the staff always seemed to have such high standards; it was a Leasks driver who patiently pointed out the exact road I needed to find my B&B in Scalloway; a Leasks driver who stopped to make sure I was OK when pushing my rented bike with a puncture up a hill in the South Mainland; and when I treated my Gran to a trip to Shetland it was a Leasks coach driver who made her guided tour to Unst ‘the best ever’ with his commentary – even though the day was wall-to-wall fog! Best wished to pastures new for all involved with the company

  • Richard Lovell

    • August 20th, 2020 9:52

    Hi Peter and Andrew. You have given a great service to Shetland and now are well deserving of retirement. You should both be very proud of your contribution to transport throughout the Islands.
    Very good luck and best wishes to you both for the future.


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