Sheffield bus fan delighted with Little Nipper Ida

Little Nipper SYT Bus. 'BUSTB
Little Nipper SYT Bus. 'BUSTB
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Bus-crazy Iain Frith has revealed his dedication to the humble mode of transport – spending an astonishing £50,000 buying and restoring more than 20.

Iain, aged 30, from Sheffield, has been buying passenger buses for 15 years, built on a passion that started when he was young.

07/02/2013 'Bus fanatic Ian Frith with his restored ex South Yorkshire Transport "Little Nipper" community bus. The thirty years old rail catering manager from Leeds, West Yorkshire, has a passion for buses and has owned and restored 20 of them since being just 14yrs old.''Paul Macnamara/Ross Parry Agency

07/02/2013 'Bus fanatic Ian Frith with his restored ex South Yorkshire Transport "Little Nipper" community bus. The thirty years old rail catering manager from Leeds, West Yorkshire, has a passion for buses and has owned and restored 20 of them since being just 14yrs old.''Paul Macnamara/Ross Parry Agency

While most people change their car every few years, Iain changes his buses even quicker by selling them on or exchanging them with fellow bus fans.

His buses are not legally permitted to pick up passengers, which has given Iain some funny moments, courtesy of angry commuters who do not realise they cannot board.

He said: “One old lady waved her stick in the direction of the bus when she realised I wasn’t stopping and I just drove on.”

Train caterer Iain has been crazy about buses since he was a child, thanks to early experiences with his grandma, and has even named his latest model ‘Ida’ in her honour.

His latest bus is the ‘Little Nipper’ – iconic in Sheffield in the 80s – which has taken him more than a decade to get his hands on.

He said: “Ten years ago, I drove to a Wales bus company looking for a double decker bus to buy, but spotted The Little Nipper.

“I said ‘I want that’, and a split second later, an old woman shouted ‘You’re not having it, this is mine’.

“I begged her to sell it, but she didn’t budge.

“I handed her my business card – and 10 years later I get a call, and the rest is history. The first thing I did was ring my gran and took her for a ride.”

From as young as five, Iain used to hop aboard the original Little Nipper buses with her in Sheffield.

He said: “I decided to name the bus Ida, because my gran was the one that started it all for me.

“It’s de-regulated and in storage at the minute which means I’m not allowed to take passengers, but I get plenty of people trying to flag me down.

“It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a bus too.

“The most expensive are double-deckers which cost up to £2,000, but the Nipper only cost £400. However, I’ve spent more than £2,500 to restore it – and she’s still not in perfect nick.

“I mainly bought the vehicles to preserve their history, as I would hate to see them just stuck in a yard somewhere.

“The buses, no matter how plain, are my life and remind me of my childhood. Much like the average man interested in football, my life revolves around buses.

“I’ve dealt with fellow enthusiasts over the years and even people at the scrapyard, with some buses destined for scrap.”

With 15 years experience in buying and selling buses, Iain is not pressing the Stop button just yet and has his sights set on the bus of his dreams.

He said: “I’d love to own a Fast Line metro bus. That would be the ultimate one for me, but I’m not going to be selling Ida yet. It’s the most I’ve spent on a bus and it means the most to me.”