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Bus usage study ‘inaccurate’ in winter
CARRYING out surveys of bus use in winter is unlikely to give an accurate figure on which to base important decisions.
That’s the view of members of Bridport Town Council which has been asked to respond to proposed cuts in services by Dorset County Council.
Councillors were concerned Dorset County Council is planning to cut many Saturday services – a move they believe will harm the town’s market.
At their plans meeting they heard that the Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) wanted more surveys done at peak times to get a better idea of the true level of use.
The pressure group also wants to see concessionary passengers given the chance to pay rather than lose a service.
Plans are to lose the No 6 Saturday service from Dorchester Hospital to Poundbury and councillors felt withdrawing this could put too much pressure on the well-used No 31. Other services likely to lose their Saturday service are the No 42 from Bridport to Drimpton, the 47 and 47a service to Beaminster, Crewkerne and Yeovil which could lose its peak period college holidays only and Sunday bank holiday service.
The 73 from Cattistock to Maiden Newton is in line to be converted to a fixed route with no pre-booking and no Saturday service.
The 76 to Catherston Leweston service to be withdrawn altogether.
The 210 and 44 to Litton Cheney and Bothenhampton also to lose the Saturday bus.
Town clerk Bob Gillis said: “There is a question mark on the data they are basing their recommendations on n one of these services the 210 on one Saturday in August was standing room only.
“WATAG thinks there should be some more surveys done and other options to maximise revenues should be looked at before a reduction in services.
“WATAG feels people might be willing to pay if the option was the loss of the service.”
Coun Phil Lathey said he’d been contacted by people in Dottery and Salway Ash to indicate that people are willing to pay to make the service viable.
He said: “A lot of older people no longer have cars because they are not fit to drive or don’t feel safe to drive so they rely on their once or twice weekly bus to get them into Bridport to do their shopping.
“Taxi fares are quite expensive.
“Are these surveys are being done in January when it is bitterly cold and people are not able or willing to come out of their houses, then it is going to show up very slight usage.”
Dorset County Council is consulting on the proposed changes and if it decides to implement the changes they will come into effect on January 5 next year.
It wants to save money by withdrawing:
Any rural service that costs it more than £5 per passenger Services that carry an average of seven or less people
School services not carrying entitled children
Summer only tourist services
Subsidised evening and Saturday services
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