The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

February 9, 2011

The Springhill Bus

How many readers remember the Springhill Bus?  The following is taken from an interview given to the Heritage Group by Doug Casey.


     The used buses were bought in the United States in 1945 by Jimmy Demetre.  Not all the buses were used for transportation, one was a spare bus and the others were used for parts. 

     When it first started the bus route was from Main Street, out the West End to Gough’s Store, up the Herrett Road to the cross roads, back down to McGee Street, out Mountain Road (now part of McGee Street, back in to Main Street up as far as Kennedy Avenue, then down Junction Road as far as Aberdeen Street.  They also tried running the bus in Ward 2 above Victoria Street but it didn’t pay so they dropped that route.  The route took about a half hour, so they would wait 10 minutes and at 20 minutes to the hour they would start the route again.

     The regular bus service was from 10 in the morning until 11 p.m. but they also had a driver make a mine run at 5 o’clock in the morning and a school run at 8 a.m.  The regular driver would come on about 10 in the morning and work until noon then another driver would take over for the school run and when he came back the regular driver took over again.  There were two shifts each week.  One week you would work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday day shift then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday you switched to the afternoon shift.  The bus didn’t run on Sunday during the winter but in the summer if there was something special going on it would run.  On Decoration Day it would go down Monument Hill and around North Street to take people to the cemetery.  Sometimes if there was a band playing at the service the bus used to go down and pick them up and bring them up to the top of the hill.  The bus also made trips to Heather’s beach in the summer at a cost of 50 cents.

     The price of a bus ride when it first started was 10 cents for adults and 5 cents for children.  These rates were later raised to 15 and 7 cents.

     When Doug started he was paid $25 a week (for working 6 days).

     Mr. Casey told the story of when he was working there was a snowstorm and he asked a person what the Herrett Road was like and was told that it was drifting in pretty good.  So he stopped at Gough’s Store and picked up the kids going to High School, then picked up more at Starr Street and made it up to the cross roads on Herrett Road where he would pick up kids going to the West End School.  When he looked in the mirror he saw kids standing in the aisle.  He stopped to let those going to the West End off and proceeded to Mountain Road, then on to High School and Elgin Street School.  When he had let the last of the kids off he counted 103 – he had carried on a 28 seat bus.

     There was also a time when the driver stopped the bus, put it in park but left it running while he went into a store on Main Street, the wheels must have been turned towards the street and the bus started moving and went down the street and ended up running into Wilson’s Store window on the other side of the street.

     Some of the bus drivers were: Harvey Finley, Doug Casey, Victor Arents, Buddy Foster, Ronald Ross, Herb Hunter and Walter Perrin.

     There was no special license to drive a bus at that time all you need was a regular driver’s license.  The only other qualifications needed were to have a complete medical examination and be 21 years old.

     The bus service ran until 1954.

Here is a list of gas outlets in Springhill during that time.  The number may surprise you.  They include: Gough’s, Dickson’s on Valley Road, Cecil Letcher, George McPherson, Bill Graven, Art Sears, Lloyd Rector, Ernie Legrow’s, Sam Lees, Fred Moore, Glendenning, Claude Carter, Jewkes Store, Jim Canning, Jim Rushton, Rhodes Letcher’s Garage and Rod King.