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UPDATED: Jammed buses close Church Street in Lyme Regis
THE main route into Lyme Regis town centre was closed for hours after two double deckers became wedged together.
The First buses got stuck as they passed in Church Street just before 9am on Monday morning and were freed just before 1pm.
The X53 and 31 buses were millimetres away from buildings and police closed the street and diverted traffic through Coombe Street.
A recovery truck lifted one bus and moved it further on to the pavement, but the other bus was still unable to move because of a flat battery.
The incident has led to fresh calls for action to stop large vehicles meeting in the narrow street and causing damage to surrounding buildings.
It comes just two months after a similar incident when two double deckers tried to pass and hit a house and a sign on Antonio Trattoria Italian restaurant.
Restaurant owner Antonio Gravili saw the chaos on Monday. He said: “It was about 8.50am when they got stuck. “They sent a large recovery lorry to try and move one of them.
“This recovery truck is lifting the bus on the left side and moved it up on the pavement to try and release the other one.
“The bus on our side is leaning closer and closer to the building. It is within one finger of my window.
“It’s closed the road since before 9am – how can they get away with this? It’s chaos.
“The passengers disappeared and even the drivers disappeared.
“The police have closed the road in Church Street and diverted all the traffic through Coombe Street.”
Mr Gravili said something needs to be done to prevent this happening time and time again.
“It’s frustrating for me because it’s so close to my building,” he said. “It’s frustrating not just from my point of view but for the whole town – nothing is being done about it.
“The bus company should provide some sort of electronic device so they don’t meet one another or change the time schedule.”
Lyme resident and regular bus user John Hounsell also saw the vehicles stuck together.
He said: “Where is the intelligence of the bus service that they can’t provide their drivers with a mobile phone so the one coming in, when he gets to Anning Road bus stop, can phone the incoming one to see that it’s clear?”
A First Hampshire and Dorset spokesman said the exact cause of the incident is being investigated.
The spokesman added: “The matter was further complicated by the presence of scaffolding on the street, which one of our drivers was naturally trying to avoid.
"As a company we do what we can to avoid issues such as this. The timetabling of services is considered carefully and we do what we can to avoid scheduling services to pass in narrow places, but on occasion buses will find themselves in places like this with other large vehicles, be they other buses, lorries, caravans or motorhomes.
"We are incredibly sorry for the disruption that this incident caused.
“We have already taken steps to further alert drivers to the potential issues that can arise in places like this.
“We are thankful that there was no apparent damage to anyone else's property aside from our own."