The Salisbury City Bus
When I started going to St. Francis de Sales Catholic School, it had just opened in September of 1950. Now this was before the days of 2-car families, and I lived on the other side of town. Since I was only in the second grade, this should have been a problem and it would be nowadays. But, times were different and we had the city bus line to depend upon. There were four routes and they all started downtown. The two buses with the routes going up North Division St. and out East Church St. parked on the East side of Division St. in front of the Court House. The two busses going outSouth Division St. and down Camden Ave. started their runs from in front of the Masonic Building directly across from the Court House.
My day began standing on the NE corner of Church and Truitt Streets accompanied by the cement-posted, ever-present U.S. Mail box, where I would deposit anything my mother entrusted to me. My sister, Barbara, would get on the bus across the street and in front of our grandparents house and her friend, Charlotte Wallace, would get on 2 blocks away at the corner of Truitt and Grace Streets. By doing this they would have the long way out to Chesapeake Heights in which to talk “girl talk”. I was fortunate in that the Church St. bus became the Camden Ave. bus upon its arrival at the downtown bus stop. I just stayed on the bus and continued on my journey to St. Francis. In the afternoon I boarded the Camden Ave. bus in front of St. Francis and stayed on it until it deposited me back to the corner of Church and Truitt Streets. In the seven years that I rode the bus there were only two drivers that had the route I rode. First, there was an elderly man known to us kids only as “Shorty”. When he retired, the route was taken over by Harlan Lane. I have vague recollections of a driver named “Tex”. He didn’t drive for very long and was called “Tex” because, with his long black hair and cowboy “looks”, it fit. The kids also said he had a pistol under his seat but none of us were brave enough to ask or find out by any other means.
The cost of a weekly pass was fifty cents when we first started riding the bus. This went up to seventy-five cents after a couple of years and finally ended up during my elementary career at the princely sum of one dollar and twenty-five cents for the entire week – both ways. The pass was purchased on Monday and punched by the driver every time you used it. Tokens didn’t come into play until 1959, two years after I left St. Francis.
In the heyday of the Salisbury bus line, you could get anywhere in town quickly and on time. The busses left the downtown area on the hour and half-hour and were fairly punctual. Most of the residents of Salisbury lived near one of the four main arteries and could walk to the bus stop with no problem.