Strathmartine Mini Coaches (Dundee) was established in 1970 as a privately-owned coach service. Its speciality was in organised tours of Scotland and England; but the firm also had contracts with local authorities, schools, social welfare organisations, travel agents, and industrial/commercial personnel transportation. They also provided travel for airport transfers, dances, nights out, weddings and shows.
Examples of some of the scheduled routes included between Camperdown main gate and Camperdown mansion house (summer 1972 and summer 1973: 4p adults, 2p children), for National Coal Board employees between Ballingry and Solsgirth Milne, and from Downfield to Auchterhouse.
At one point all the mini-buses were painted with a series of dark green stripes to relive the box-van like exterior. The company provided luxury travel as standard. The 12-seater coaches had moquette high-backed seats, luggage boots, and a radio/stereo. The Dormobile 16-seaters had the same, and were further equipped with curtains and more headroom. The Reebur 17-seater also included a public address system, carpet, and luggage rack. The petrol driven engines ran with overdrives to reduce the noise. Caetano and Fiat provided at one time 19-seater buses (with many of the busses/coaches being manufactured by Ford). In 1975, a 29-seat Bedford PKJ Plaxton Supreme coach with a black-and-white television was acquired. A 45-seater coach was added later too. In June 1989 an 18-seater Caetano Optimo with fridge, hot drink machine and colour TV/video was bought.
Bill and Vera Joiner ran the business from its inception: with Vera running the traffic office and clerical duties (though was a driver and mechanic too if required) and Bill being a driver and responsible for maintenance (with the assistance of a part-time mechanic). The painting of coaches and adding of luxuries was undertaken by the couple themselves, as the busses/coaches were bought in fairly standard condition.
The museum has a small archive of items relating to Strathmartine Coaches which can be seen by appointment.
Article by Euan Derrick
Edited by Samantha Walker