Centra was one of many operators of London Buses. They were the transport division of Central Parking Systems of UK Limited (CPS) who acquired the assets of Wimco Group Coaches Limited (which has been trading as Mitcham Belle) in August 2004. The company ran its last passenger services on 19 May 2006.
In a separate operation, Centra also ran buses in Surrey and around Heathrow and Gatwick airports, after purchasing Thames Bus in October 2003. This division lasted two years before being sold to Flights Hallmark in 2005.
Centra had 2 bus garages: Streatham Road, which operated Mitcham Belle coach operations which also passed into Centra's hands until they closed this depot, and moved the coach operations to a new site on the Willow Lane Industrial Estate, which was also going to be used as a bus garage to replace the Beddington Depot, and Beddington Mitcham Belle bus operations.
Beddington garage held 53 buses, and ran a number of London Buses routes. It was originally opened by Mitcham Belle; the yard was taken over in 2004 by Central Parking Systems under the Centra name following poor performance and a history of poor public relations. A huge overhaul of buses and other issues was undertaken by Centra; however, despite trying its hardest, it was unable to improve the reliability issues. Some of the drivers that had been taken on from Mitcham Belle were notoriously bad. This led to the loss and subsequent early surrender of the route 127 contract to Metrobus.
Rumours abound in some circles that Centra were looking to sell off the bus operation to concentrate on their traditional operations of parking and courtesy buses. It was confirmed as the company consulted on redundancies at their Beddington Lane depot.
Centra ceased their London bus operations on 19 May 2006 when its buses ran on the 200, 201 and 493 routes for the last time. The following day, London General began operating the 200, East Thames Buses the 201 and Armchair the 493, Centra's London based coach operations operated out of the a new on the Willow Lane Industrial Estate in Mitcham, the coach operation operated for a few more months before being sold to Wiltax in August 2006. The following bus types used at Beddington:
- Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer
- Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Compass
- Optare Solo
- MCW Metrobus
- Volvo Olympian/East Lancs Pyoneer
- Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties Palatine 1
The Surrey operations at a depot in New Haw, near Addlestone It ran Surrey County Council routes 22 (Dorking to Newdigate only), 28 (Sunday only), 38, 71, 72 (school service Brooklands to Old Woking and return and Saturday afternoons), 81, 218 (Sunday only), 400, 442(Sunday only), 456 (Sunday only), 472, 516, 547, 548, 549, 690, 698, 801, 803, 833, E303, and Jet Coach.
The Surrey services started after purchasing Thames Bus in October 2003. Two years later, in 2005, the operation was sold to Flights Hallmark, part of Rotala, and was operated with Surrey Connect branding. After a period of being operated by Wiltax, most of these services are now run by Travel Surrey.
It used a number of vehicle types:
- Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer
- Volvo B10BLE/Wrightbus
- TransBus Enviro300
- Mercedes-Benz Vario/Plaxton Beaver
- Mercedes-Benz Citaro