Shuttle idea to aid Sidmouth’s car nightmare

Bus shuttles idea to relieve Sidmouth of parking nightmare

SIDMOUTH’S terrible parking problem and congestion nightmare could be solved by introducing a shuttle bus system from an out-of-town park and ride.

Resident Chris Gittins, one of those suggesting the buses, told those at Wednesday’s Vision Group for Sidmouth’s annual meeting: “We have really got to grasp the mettle in keeping people out of the town.”

While she backed cycleways and a park and ride, she added: “Most people arrive in cars. The only solution in my mind would be to have several small, electrically operated mini-buses buzzing around the town the whole time.” She said if people knew a bus would arrive every 10 or 15 minutes they would park out of town and bus to the centre, particularly those who work in shops and businesses.

“People could visit the seafront, which would be lovely if it were car free. I am sure people would be happy to pay a flat fee.”

“I support that,” said guest speaker, Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes, portfolio holder for Transport.

He recalled the adverse reaction of people to a suggestion that another storey for parking be built on the Ham car park.

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“People don’t want to suck more cars into the town, you just need two or three buses buzzing around and Manor Road car park could be used more.”

He praised Sidmouth Town Council’s initiative of setting up a Hopper bus during the summer months to ferry residents and visitors from the town’s car parks to the town centre, Peak Hill, Salcombe Hill and now Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

“They have done an exceedingly good job,” he said.

DCC’s transportation manager (policy), Andre Ardley, who also attended the meeting at Kennaway House, said it was likely Stagecoach would expect to be subsidised if it ran such a bus ferrying system.

“If they saw it as a commercial operation they could back it, they would want to see it as something that supplements what they provide.”

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