Memories From The Past
Ridin’ The Bus
Growing up in Lynn Garden during the 1940’s and 1950’s, our main mode of transportation to Kingsport was The City Transportation Company or “ridin’ the bus to town”.
These buses were snub-nosed vehicles, with a color scheme of what was known then as apple green on the bottom and cream on the top. The colors probably have a fancier name now.
Besides the advertisements on the outside of the bus, ads were placed along the upper, curved section of the side where it joined the roof. Along each side, above the windows ran a pull cord. Pulling the cord would sound a bell, signaling the driver to stop for exiting the bus.
You would enter the bus at the front and drop your fare, 5-cents for children, 10-cents adults, into a vertical coin collection box with a window for the driver to view. When he was satisfied, he would push a button to drop the coins into the collection box. If you did not have the correct change, you handed him your larger coin or paper money and he would give you change from a coin dispenser. These coin dispensers were a fascination for young children. Push a lever and money appears.
The drivers all wore a uniform. Trowsers were a medium-blue heather and shirts a medium-gray. Headwear was a visored military style hat of the same color as their trowsers.
Seats were a dark green leather covered type seen in school buses, seating two patrons each. The back seat was a long bench type. Along the top and down the side of each seat was a chrome plated rod with a curved hand hold at the top, outer section to accommodate riders having to stand that were too short to reach the hand grips suspended from the ceilings.
Routes run by the buses were Lynn Garden-State Line, West View-Howard Hill-Fort Robinson, Bloomingdale-Arcadia-Silvacola, Highland-Hill Crest, Long Island-Sullivan Gardens and Church Hill. When you reached the bus station on Main Street, you could get a transfer to another route at no additional cost. For most routes, a bus would leave the terminal on Main Street at 20 or 30-minute intervals and at the same time a bus would be turning to return to Kingsport at the end of a route.
I can remember many times, riding the bus from town to Lynn Garden on Saturday afternoon and seeing an entire family returning home after spending the day in Kingsport. Each family member, depending on size would be carrying one or two grocery bags showing the logo of Little Store, Cut-Rate or Oakwood supermarket. These were the main supplies for the next week or two, depending on whether the father was paid weekly or bi-weekly.
We rode the buses during the summer to go swimming at the Legion Pool, activities at the Civic Auditorium or ball games at J. Fred Johnson Stadium. We rode the buses to shop for new school clothing and supplies. We rode the buses to shop for Christmas presents, to go to parades, visit friends and family in other sections of Kingsport or just to “go to town”.
Photograph courtesy of City of Kingsport Archives.
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