The motor bus did not come to Woking until 1911. Unlike many other areas the town was not subsumed into the network of the major territorial operators for a considerable time. It was on the extreme fringe of the empires of Aldershot & District and London General and it was not until the mid-1920s that Aldershot & District was able to anchor itself firmly in Woking while London General had to wait until 1931. Being on the boundary of two major operators who were providing little, meant that the Woking area (and Guildford too) became ripe for exploitation by local proprietors. Men were returning from the Forces after the war with their demobilisation gratuities. A fourteen-seat bus on a lightweight American chassis was relatively cheap, so the cost of market entry was not prohibitive. It was, however, a cut-throat business with numerous proprietors competing on the most lucrative routes almost on a dog-eat-dog basis. One Councillor described the Woking - St John's - Knaphill route as a 'little goldmine', making competition fierce and surely against the public interest in terms of providing a regular, reliable service. The history of A&D and London General has already been documented but little in-depth has been written about the so-called 'independents'. This book sets out to remedy this and to put the activities of the larger companies into local context. The book concerns itself with the period before the Second World War, up to the time of the disappearance of the last of the independent operators.
Over the last 35 years Laurie James has extensively researched the history, services, people involved and vehicles of many of the smaller independent bus operators of south east England and the West Country. He has produced several books, focusing on areas such as Horsham, Guildford, Cranleigh, Woking and the Surrey Hills. Having also written the history of Somerset bus firms Hutchings & Cornelius and Safeway Services, he now turns his attention to an early bus operator in the Devizes area of Wiltshire. He currently lives in Hersham, Surrey.