Sidmouth's free Hopper bus returns

PUBLISHED: 13:30 05 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:19 18 June 2010

Sponsors, councillors, and working party in front of the new Hopper bus

Sponsors, councillors, and working party in front of the new Hopper bus

RESIDENTS and visitors can enjoy free travel around Sidmouth for the next four months with the launch of its Hopper Bus summer service on Monday.

RESIDENTS and visitors can enjoy free travel around Sidmouth for the next four months with the launch of its Hopper Bus summer service on Monday.

It is the sixth year the bus, brainchild of retiring town council chairman Tom Cox, has been operating, linking passengers to Peak and Salcombe Hill as well as town centre car parks and the weekend park and walk at The Knowle.

Town councillors, sponsors, Stagecoach representatives and members of the hopper working party, attended the launch.

Councillor John Dyson said the Hopper had become a regular feature in the town.

This year Stagecoach is providing a larger 16-seater bus for the hourly service, "which is more comfortable to get in and out of, which is helpful for many using the bus," said Mr Dyson.

Thanking sponsors of the service, he said: "In spite of the credit crunch I am encouraged by the level of support this year, not only in the public sector, but especially from the non-public sector."

He thanked Hospitality Association president Mark Seward for its "substantial" donation to continue for the next two years and the Reverend Handel Bennett and Brian Black for the three years support from Sid Vale Association and the Keith Owen Fund, which gave £2,500.

He said such support gave confidence in the future of the service.

Mr Dyson also thanked his working party and AONB officer Kimmo Evans from East Devon District Council for producing posters and leaflets. Some 4,000 have been distributed to hotels and other outlets.

He introduced drivers Bill and regular Jim Tucker from Stagecoach. Jim will do most of the runs during the 'season'.

Councillor Peter Sullivan, chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, thanked Mr Dyson for his coordination of the bus.

"Last year's severe weather problems affected the passenger numbers. This year, if the weather is like it is today, it will be good for the bus," he said, adding it was cheaper to run the bus without charging than it had been when a fare was introduced last year.

Mr Sullivan thanked the bus drivers. "They do a fantastic job and so much for the tourism industry, giving people lots of information."

One person missing was Mr Cox, who was recovering in hospital from a fall. Both Mr Sullivan and Mr Dyson wished him a speedy recovery.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald