Pensioners stranded for four hours after sat nav sends coach down narrow country lane
Last updated at 14:43 25 August 2006
A coachload of pensioners were sent on an expected tour of the countryside after satellite navigation sent them down a narrow country lane and across three fields.
The day-trippers were stuck for nearly four hours on the bus after it became wedged down the winding single track in Stroat, near Lydney, Gloucestershire.
The woman coach driver had been directed down Rosemary Lane after it flashed up as the quickest route between Coleford and the A48, near Chepstow, on her sat nav system.
Despite the efforts of at least five local people, who waved frantically at the driver to warn her she was heading for a lengthy delay, she carried on regardless – trusting that her gadget knew best.
But the coach, which belongs to Bristol-based firm Buglers, soon came a cropper in the large hedges overhanging the lane and became firmly wedged on both sides.
The fed-up day-trippers from Bristol, who were looking forward to lunch at a country pub, were invited in for tea and a lavatory break by a sympathetic couple living on the lane.
A farmer finally came to the embarrassed coach driver’s rescue and towed the bus out of the bushes.
But with no room to attach a wing mirror and more than a mile to reverse back to the main road, the driver was told to take a cross-country route back to the safety of the A48.
The pensioners were then treated to a scenic view of the Forest of Dean as they mowed through three fields of recently harvested barley.
Tanice Richards, 65, who lives on the lane, said: “The coach came up from Bristol, across the old Severn Bridge and across the A48 and directly up Rosemary Lane.
“About five people tried to stop the lady coming up the lane, but she carried on and got stuck about a mile up.
“They were there for about four hours. Then a farmer had to retrieve them by pulling them backwards a little way.
“Then the farmer opened the gates to the fields and they went across them back to the A48.
“It was a bizarre sight.”
Locals have complained that the quiet lane regularly attracts unsuspecting holidaymakers towing caravans, lorry drivers and white vans looking for a short cut on their sat navs.
Ian McDonald, 70, a retired transport manager who lives on Rosemary Lane, said he had written to the council and his local MP Mark Harper to try to get the problem resolved.
He also wants sat-nav companies to update their records to avoid any repeats of the chaotic scenes, which are now commonplace on the lane.
“This wasn’t a one-off and it’s been happening for about two years,” he said.
“We can only assume that these sat nav systems are telling drivers that our road is the quickest or shortest route from Chepstow, which it isn’t.
“It’s a ridiculous situation when you have a coachload of pensioners being driven over fields.”
Buglers, the coach firm responsible for the off-road adventure said today it would not be commenting on the mapping mishap.
The pensioners’ countryside tour is the latest in a series of sat nav disasters.
Earlier this year it emerged that drivers following satellite navigation systems through a North Yorkshire village called Crackpot have been directed along a track at the edge of a 100ft cliff.
Hapless drivers with blind faith in the gadgets’ ability to get them from A to B have also been directed straight into the river Avon in the Wiltshire village of Luckington.
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