One seasoned user of the 52 Sidmouth service had travelled on it every day for 20 years without a problem – and then two came along at once.

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COMMUTERS in Sidmouth couldn’t believe it when state-of-the-art new buses broke down just days after the £1.5million fleet’s high profile launch.

One seasoned user of the 52 service had travelled on it every day for 20 years without a problem – and then two came along at once.

The “teething problems” left passengers like Lynn Cornish, who was looking forward to being all-aboard one of the pristine Stagecoach vehicles, feeling all at sea and running late for work.

The 50-year-old South West Water employee’s husband had to come to her rescue and drive her to the city last Friday (January 11) when the 7.45am bus she always catches didn’t turn up.

It was in fact stranded right in front of her at the Three Cornered Plot.

Last Wednesday (January 9), Lynn, of Fleming Avenue, was left puzzled when the same service was off-schedule as the vehicle had to be changed due to problems.

“They’re shouting about how wonderful their new services are – but I wasn’t impressed,” she said.

“I’d read all about the new buses and couldn’t believe this happened twice in three days.

“I’ve gone to work and back every day for 20 years with no breakdowns. You see the nice new buses, but there have been more problems this week than ever.”

A Stagecoach spokeswoman said there have been “a couple of minor engineering issues” with the new vehicles.

She added: “We understand customers’ expectations are that this should not happen with new buses, but the reality is these are complex vehicles and, unfortunately, teething problems do occur.

“In such instances we always send a replacement vehicle. However they are not always able to reach a location before the next departure is due.

“We also have a duty of care to our passengers to ensure all faults that are reported are thoroughly investigated and we are working with the manufacturer to resolve any problems as and when they occur.

“However, we are confident the vehicles are more than fit for purpose and will provide many years of safe and reliable public transport for Sidmouth residents.”

Hundreds of people lined The Esplanade to watch Olympian Mary King help launch the new buses on Tuesday, January 8.


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