Contact the Bridport News with your stories, pictures and video footage. Send us an email
MP vows to solve transport problems at Woodroffe School
MP Oliver Letwin has pledged to try and find a solution to the continuing transport problems at Woodroffe School.
The West Dorset MP has been to the Lyme Regis school to watch as around 500 students try to board buses and parents park wherever they can to wait for their children.
Twelve buses cram into the small bus bay, which is just off the busy Uplyme Road, while parents are parking dangerously and illegally on yellow or zig zag lines. The school has called for Mr Letwin’s help after failing to get action from local authorities or police.
Mr Letwin said: “I am arranging to get a meeting of all relevant people to talk about what we might do.
“Clearly there is a problem and the question is how to find a practical and affordable solution quickly.
“It may that there is a first step which is cheaper and quicker and then subsequent more structural steps.
“I am basically trying to get whatever I can quickly and whatever more I can get over whatever timescale I can get it.”
This comes as First bus company has announced that it is removing one of its after-school services to Axminster due to timetable changes across the network.
Writing in the school’s newsletter, headteacher Dr Richard Steward said: “We have tried to elicit support for changes to the bus bay, further traffic restrictions, help from the local police and traffic wardens, but we are caught in a constant loop as highways pass us on to the local authority, who refer us to the district council, who tell us to contact the police, who suggest highways, and on and on.
“Our MP, Oliver Letwin, has been to school to see the problem for himself and has stood in the bus bay as the buses battle their way through the cars and attempt to board around 500 students as safely and efficiently as possible.”
There are currently two number 31 buses operating at 3.45pm from Woodroffe to Axminster, but from March 24 this will be reduced to one.
Karen Baxter, regional PR manager for First, said: “There are two buses at the moment and one will remain.
“With all the other timetable changes, everything is inter-linked and if you make a change it affects another service.
“It means there’s no longer a vehicle that is going to be anywhere near to be used for the duplicate journey.
“The local team knows how it works and they have made this decision to remove it on that basis. They must think they can cope without it.”
Nearly half of Woodroffe’s students travel to school by bus, although Dr Steward said the bus bay is ‘far too small’ to accommodate the 12 buses needed.
But he said the situation could be improved by parents parking more responsibly.
“Parental parking is often, frankly, dangerous, with many ignoring yellow lines, some blocking the access to bus bay, and a few driving across the entrance to the school far too fast,” said Dr Steward.
Bus timetables to change
SEVERAL bus timetable changes will come into effect elsewhere in West Dorset and East Devon.
Also on the service 31 route, the 7.41am journey from Bridport to Dorchester, which runs on school days only, will operate eight minutes earlier.
The timetable of the number 47 between Bridport and Yeovil will also be altered and passengers are advised to check the new timetables for details.
The X53 between Poole and Exeter is no longer being supported by Dorset and Devon County Councils and will be operated on a commercial basis from March 24.
These buses will operate every two hours from Monday to Sunday.
The X54 from Colyton to Exeter, via Seaton and Axmouth, is being scrapped entirely.
The service used to work in conjunction with the X53 but First said it is ‘no longer viable’ as the X53 switches to a commercially operated route.
New timetables are available from firstgroup.com/dorset and hardcopies will be available from selected tourist information centres from early March.