Meet Casper, the commuting cat who's fast becoming a celebrity on Plymouth buses. Regular users of First's number 3 service may recognise the fluffy feline, who has been driving his owner up the wall with his constant trips to the city centre.
The adventurous cat politely queues behind other passengers at the bus stop outside his Barne Barton home, then quietly trots on board and curls up on a seat for the ride. But far from causing mischief he has proved a hit with drivers and customers alike, who always make sure he returns home safely.
Casper's journey takes him from just outside his house in Poole Park Road to the final stop at Royal Parade and back, via St Budeaux Square, HMS Drake, Keyham, Devonport and Stonehouse. His owner Susan Finden has only just found out about his antics – but First Group have been bussing Casper around for months.
Now the company is even hatching plans to decorate the side of a Ugobus with a giant photograph of Casper, such is his popularity on the route.
Susan found out about Casper's regular 11-mile round trips when he followed her to the bus stop one morning, avoiding passing vehicles by a whisker. "The driver told me he gets on all the time," she said. "I couldn't believe it. He queues up in line with people and just sits patiently in the queue good as gold – it'll be 'Person, person, person, cat, person, person.'
"He seems to be picking First buses rather than the Citybus ones, but we don't know why. When the drivers do their turnaround they'll all check the bus and if he's on there they make sure he stays on for the return trip. Then local people will take him off when he gets to the right stop. I'm really appreciative to all the drivers for making sure he gets home safely; I'd hate to lose him."
With slideshow. There's a news video here.