The Jurassic Mule bus service could be back next summer – after the owner withdrew the service blaming ‘whining’ local residents for attacking staff.
Operated by Mendip Mule Motorbus Company, the Jurassic Mule ran its final service operating between Beer, Colyton, Seaton, Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset in September, with all 25 of the part-time workforce being laid off.
Owner Derek Gawn had hit out at residents who have complained about noise created at the company’s bus park in Seaton and a spokesman for the Mendip Mule Motorbus Company said that locals had been hurling abuse at bus drivers.
But following a series of meetings between the company and Seaton town council, there are now hopes that the bus could return to the streets next summer.
The Jurassic Mule departs Lyme Regis for the final time on Sunday (Image: Derek Gawn)
Seaton mayor, Cllr Jack Rowland, has had a number of meetings with Derek Gawn, the owner of Jurassic Mule to try to find a way forward so that the service can continue in 2018 and beyond, and he said that town council recognises the importance of increasing the amount of visitors to the town and believes that the Jurassic Mule Plays a key role in this.
Cllr Rowland said “I am pleased with the way that these meetings have gone and am optimistic that the Jurassic Mule service will continue in 2018. The Council is lobbying East Devon District Council and Devon District Council to get the improved road layout in the Underfleet so that buses have a place to pull in off the road to prevent traffic congestion. We have also signposted Mr Gawn to Sources of funding so that he can update his vehicles.”
Mr Gawn said: “I am current working on the possibility of providing some form of Jurassic Mule service for 2018 and am working with both Lyme Regis and Seaton Town Councils. I am also investigating updating my vehicles so that the emissions are reduced. In order to do this I am seeking funding.
“In the meantime I would like to thank all our friends in the town for their overwhelming support through this difficult period.”
The Jurassic Mule open-top service
As well as meeting with Derek Gawn, Cllr Rowland has also met with Ian Beaven and Pat Lowther from Haven Court to discuss the situation and a way forward with them.
Ian Beaven, Haven Court Manager, said: “We feel that the residents of Haven Court have been unfairly maligned in the press when we are fully supportive of tourism and the Jurassic Mule. No one here wants to see the Jurassic Mule cease trading; our residents just have concerns over the emissions from buses generally. It’s good news that Mr Gawn is planning to update his vehicles and we look forward to seeing the Jurassic Mule continue in the future.”
Pat Lowther, a resident at Haven Court, added: “I have used the Jurassic Mule myself and really enjoyed the experience. I think it’s a great way of bringing tourists into the town and I’m fully supportive the service continuing and I am glad that Mr Gawn is looking to purchase some more emission friendly vehicles.”
Source: Devon live