Family decides to sell Otter Coaches to Dartline

Chris and Alan Down of Otter coaches with Dave Hounslow and David Dart of Darts. Ref sho 49-16TI 323

Chris and Alan Down of Otter coaches with Dave Hounslow and David Dart of Darts. Ref sho 49-16TI 3233. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A family-run coach business - that has ‘stood the test of time’ for more than six decades - has been sold.

Chris and Alan Down of Otter coaches with Dave Hounslow and David Dart of Darts. Ref sho 49-16TI 322

Chris and Alan Down of Otter coaches with Dave Hounslow and David Dart of Darts. Ref sho 49-16TI 3227. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Otter Coaches, in Exeter Road, will become part of Dartline from January 1.

Brothers Chris and Alan Down have co-owned the business, but, due to personal reasons, they have decided to sell to the Exeter-based company.

Chris, who lives in Sidmouth, said: “I suppose it’s like all things - as time goes by, you have to move with the times.

“Technology is moving on so fast, there are aspects of the business that are not as attractive as they used to be.

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3225. Picture: Terry Ife

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3225. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant


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“There’s been a number of small companies that have been disappearing for whatever reason - some just go under, our business has stood the test of time.”

The brothers’ father Wilfred set up the business after owning a garage in Tipton St John.

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On his return from serving in the army in World War Two, he purchased East Devon Motors in Ottery and began running coaches.

In the early 1950s, he bought out a company run by businessman Jimmy Rowsell and amalgamated the companies to become Otter Coaches. Chris and Alan began working for the company after finishing school. At its peak, the business would operate up to 10 coaches for private hire and school contracts.

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3223. Picture: Terry Ife

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3223. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Chris said: “We would like to thank all our loyal customers over the years as we have tried to support them with a good service.

Dartline have got a big organisation - they have a very good reputation.”

He added that all bookings made with Otter Coaches through 2017 will be honoured by Dartline.

The addition of Otter Coaches will take Dartline’s fleet to 70 vehicles.

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3221. Picture: Terry Ife

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3221. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

David Hounslow, managing director for Dartline, said: “It is a well-respected local company.”

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3219. Picture: Terry Ife

Otter Coaches. Ref sho 49-16TI 3219. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

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