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Bus services face cuts to save money
DORSET’S supported bus network is set for a shake-up with some services being scrapped to save money.
Now local bus users are being asked what impact planned changes to Dorset services will have on them.
Among the changes proposed is the scrapping of the X53 Lyme Regis to Weymouth Sunday service in winter.
In Lyme Regis the service 72 summer park and ride would go as well as the Saturday service in the town on the service 71.
Dorset County Council has been examining the routes it subsidises and has announced a revamp in 2014 making savings of £850,000 in its public transport budget.
Residents are invited to have their say on the changes being proposed.
People who use the bus services are being invited to explain what the proposed changes would mean to them – and if there are any local initiatives or ideas that could help provide the transport options they need.
Views are being captured by an online survey, but people can also write in with their views.
Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset County Council, said: “We are keen to understand the individual impacts that the changes will have. We can then look to helping with community initiatives in the highlighted areas that can provide residents with a better, tailored service that fits their needs.
“Many of the rural buses have very little usage and we have had to look at ways of providing a better value for money service by empowering local groups to work together.
“In all parts of Dorset there have been successes with neighbourcar and dial-a-car schemes that offer residents a bespoke service.”
Earlier this year the county council carried out a comprehensive survey of bus users and operators looking at the patterns of usage.
Their findings have informed the changes, which will take effect from January next year.
The new arrangements include withdrawing rural services that costs the county council over £5 per passenger and urban service with subsidies over £3.
Those carrying less than seven passengers per journey and a small number of subsidised summer-only tourist services will also be removed.
There will be no subsidised services during evenings, Saturdays (unless they average 20 passengers per journey or more), Sundays, Bank Holidays unless additional external funding can be sourced.
There will be revisions county-wide including the North Dorset network, Dorchester to Yeovil services and the Dorchester to Poole route. Christchurch services will also be affected.
Simon Thompson from Dorset Community Action said: “We understand why this review is happening but we’re concerned about those in rural areas. We’d like alternatives to be investigated before communities are isolated further.”
Mr Thompson said changes would hit the ‘working poor’.
He also warned against the assumption that voluntary car schemes could replace buses, with an increasing need to find volunteers.
Full details of the proposal and the online form can be found at dorsetforyou.com/bussurvey For residents who don’t have computer facilities local libraries can help you access this information. Comments can also be made through town and parish councils.
The closing date for feedback is September 24, with a decision from Dorset County Council’s cabinet on October 2.