Flowers for 10,000th user of Sidmouth Hopper bus

Holiday couple delighted with Sidmouth Hopper bouquet at being 10,000th passenger

A COUPLE, holidaying in Sidmouth this week, received a shock accolade from those who run Sidmouth Hopper Bus service.

Dorothy and John Sealey of Astwood Bank, Worcestershire, had their journey to Connaught Gardens interrupted on Tuesday when driver Jim Tucker stopped at The Triangle so Hopper co-ordinator, Councillor John Dyson, could explain they were the 10,000th and 10,001 passengers this year.

Town council chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes, presented Dorothy with a floral bouquet and discovered the couple were so taken with Sidmouth they had decided to extend their holiday by a day. They will return at Christmas and may also book a week next May.

“Dorothy has been here twice before. It is so compact, nothing is to far away,” said John, who said this was their first trip on the Hopper, which runs from June until the end of September.

Mr Dyson said it had been another successful year for the bus, with the 10,000th passenger travelling a day earlier than last year.

“We had 11,000 passengers for the first time last year and will hopefully again this year,” he said. “Numbers are always affected by the weather. June was worse than last year, but July and August were both better and September has been quite reasonable so far.”

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He said extending the service to take in Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary had been a positive move and of benefit to not only the donkey charity but also caravan parks and other accommodation providers in the Salcombe Regis area.

Mr Hughes said: “I think the Hoper is going to prove, once again, it is going from strength to strength.

“The town council has really be leaders in local transport in getting people around. I think that is very important; especially when you see what is happening with the budget being cut by Devon County Council, due to austerity measures handed down by Government, that schemes like this are very beneficial.”

He thought other towns might consider introducing a similar scheme and thought it was “fabulous” that the 16-seater bus could get more than 10,000 users during the season.