Sidmouth Hopper sees slight dip in passenger numbers but rise in its donations

PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 07:04 18 October 2017

Sidmouth's new Hopper Bus took to the streets this week. Ref shs 21-16SH 6503. Picture: Simon Horn.

Sidmouth's new Hopper Bus took to the streets this week. Ref shs 21-16SH 6503. Picture: Simon Horn.

Archant

The number of people using Sidmouth’s Hopper Bus is down for the first time, but donations are up by almost 20 per cent.

Councillor John Dyson who has been responsible for the service for the last decade gave a brief update of the service’s success this year, at the latest Sidmouth Town Council meeting.

He said a total of 21,361 passengers used the service in 2017, which is down by 1.17 per cent compared to last year.

Visitors donated a total of £6,534 to help with the running of the hopper, which is up by 19.5 per cent compared to 2016.

“This is the first time it has ever gone down in the time I have been involved but if you look at the weather patterns over the year, we have had considerably more wet days too,” Cllr Dyson added.

“I think the amount of donations we’ve had is a very encouraging sign, especially when you bear in mind that the number of passengers is slightly down.”

Councillor Ian Barlow said it worked out, that on average, passengers had paid 30p each, for a trip around the town.

He added that was maybe something more could be done to encourage more donations.

Cllr Dyson the amount people donated really varied.

He added, for example, that in the last two or three day of it running this year people were donating considerably more - with some putting notes in the jar.

Cllr Dyson said when you introduce actual fairs the bus company has to fill out more forms and you can loose your flexibility.

“We tried it one year but it proved a bit of a disaster with the complications it caused.”

Cllr Dyson said overall he was very happy with the hoppers success and said that he believes it will have than broken even.

Although, he added that next year might be more of a challenge because they would not have the support of the Keith Owen Fund, which support ventures when they are growing and stops when it becomes more established.

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