Sidmouth Hopper bus route extended

PUBLISHED: 12:41 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:59 18 June 2010

THE countdown is on for the return of Sidmouth Hopper Bus to the town this summer. This year, for the first time, the route has been extended to take in a stop at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. We do this on an experimental basis.

THE countdown is on for the return of Sidmouth Hopper Bus to the town this summer.

This year, for the first time, the route has been extended to take in a stop at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

"We do this on an experimental basis. We are not sure how it will affect the overall cycle as we want to maintain an hourly cycle," said Councillor John Dyson, chairman of the Hopper working party, at Monday's town council meeting.

Because of this, it will apply to alternate circuits and, he added: "I am confident we can maintain the service, unless it is exceptionally busy."

Town councillors and other supporters of the Hopper Bus will attend an official launch of the service on Wednesday, June 2.

East Devon District Council has made a £5,000 grant towards running costs, "but will not be giving this next year," said Mr Dyson, who said he had budgeted for a "small surplus" to help cover this.

He said the service was gaining support from the private sector and this year Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and Fort Cafe had become new backers.

The hourly circuit from Peak Hill/ Mutters Moor to Salcombe Hill/Observatory and back, includes stops at the major car parks, including the Knowle at weekends.

The Hopper also stops at the Esplanade, Connaught Gardens and passes down the High Street and town centre.

As a 'hail and ride' service, the driver will stop at any safe point along the route to pick up or set down passengers. Regular users will be pleased to travel again with driver Jim Tucker from Chard, who will be covering many of the days.

He has transferred to Hatch Green Coaches, the new operator of the service on behalf of Sidmouth Town Council. On Thursday, June 3, the service will aid visitors to the Salcombe Regis Country Fair, but will not visit the Donkey Sanctuary during the afternoon.

"Whether a resident or visitor, walking, shopping or seeing the attractive gardens and fine views, the Hopper helps to make the most of Sidmouth and its beautiful countryside" said Mr Dyson.

"We are grateful to our principal sponsors East Devon District Council, the World Heritage Site Fund, the Sid Vale Association and Keith Owen Fund, plus the Sidmouth Herald and many businesses large and small, for their continuing support.


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