Sidmouth Hopper Bus celebrates another successful season

Town Council chairman Ian McKenzie-Edwards with hopper bus passengers Leonard Marshall and Nina Colv

Town Council chairman Ian McKenzie-Edwards with hopper bus passengers Leonard Marshall and Nina Colvin, and Councillor John Dyson. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Hopper Bus’s season has been hailed a success after nearly matching last year’s record breaking total of passengers.

The service once again carried more than 21,000 people between May and September and has been praised by users for being ‘invaluable’ and ‘extremely helpful’.

To celebrate the milestone, co-ordinator John Dyson and chairman of the town council Ian McKenzie-Edwards presented holidaymakers Nina Colvin and Leonard Marshall with flowers.

The couple, one of whom became the 20,000th user this year, were visiting from Nottinghamshire for the week.

Mrs Colvin said: “We are finding it very useful, because we do not have a car, we are using the buses. It is extremely helpful.”

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Mr Marshall added: “It’s an excellent service.”

Another user, Jane Pashley says she uses the service as she stays in Sidmouth for six months.

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She said: “I do not drive, it is so convenient. It’s wonderful and I do not know how I would manage. It’s fabulous and the staff are wonderful.”

Councillor McKenzie-Edwards said: “I think the Hopper Bus goes from strength to strength.

“I personally feel it is a model for a future service that will link parking locations in the valley and help with traffic in town.

“It was an innovative service for the valley. It has more than proved its worth.”

Councillor John Dyson, thanked Sidmouth businesses, the town council and passengers for their donations which total more than £25,000.

He also thanked the Sid Vale Association for its donations from the Keith Owen Fund for the past two years, totalling £14,500.

Cllr Dyson said: “This is the last year the Keith Owen Fund is supporting it [the hopper bus], it is quite reasonable as it’s a grown up service and it has donations on board to help to support it. The fund shouldn’t be spending its money on a successful service, it is there to help grow things and help create things.

“We’re trying to keep things moving. Above all, it’s bringing people in rather than bringing cars in, which is the important thing.”

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