IT was known locally as ‘the friendly service.’
As a lover of buses, I can certainly say that it felt like stepping back to an earlier, gentler time, when you climbed aboard an Economic bus to travel south down the coast from Shields.
The route alone commended it, with the sea to one side and often fields to the other, even a lighthouse to see.
And of course, the remnants of the old pit community of Marsden en route, as well as the picturesque village of Whitburn.
Which is why my date slot today prompted me to dig out this picture which came to me some time ago from a reader, and which illustrates the character of the older Economic buses.
Their classic design and cheery red livery always reminded me, at least, of something out of a Ladybird book of another era.
I’m not totally sure where the picture has been taken; perhaps someone can say.
Run from a garage and offices in Whitburn, the firm, I believe, could trace its origins back to the mid-1920s, under the Anderson and Wilson families.
The service was taken over by Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive in 1974, by which time it was operating a fleet of 20 vehicles.