The owners of a North East pub have set up their very own bus service to combat the effects of an indefinite drivers' strike which they say have left a high street 'deserted'.
Kate and Gary Bell, who run the White Lion in Houghton-le-Spring, have launched the free service to help elderly, disadvantaged and vulnerable people get to town for shopping and medical appointments.
The bus collection initiative has been set up in response to the ongoing and indefinite strike by Go North East bus drivers which has brought its services across the region to a halt.
Landlord Mr Bell said: "Houghton was empty. There was no customers coming into the pubs or even any of the shops in Houghton.
"We saw pictures of up the street and it was just a ghost town, so we needed to act to get the community back together and into Houghton."
The not-for-profit service, which has a fully qualified bus driver and a 16-seat minibus, has been approved for five years by England's Traffic Commissioner.
It will run from various stops every weekend during the strike action from 10am until 4pm.
With disruption to North East transport set to continue indefinitely after the latest round of negotiations failed to produce a new pay deal on Monday 6 November, the White Lion's initiative has been welcomed by locals who depend on transport links.
The service will serve Houghton-le-Spring as well as those living in Hetton, East Rainton and Fence Houses.
The couple are also looking to set up a volunteer service to operate the phone bookings.
Mrs Bell said: "We are a community pub and that's what we strive to do, help the community.
"It's not just to us about getting people in to have a drink, it's about the families, it's getting the people that are vulnerable and a lot of these people are our friends now."
While the service has no fare charge, passengers can make a donation to help fund the costs of the service.
ITV Tyne Tees has approached Go North East for comment.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...