A GROUP has been set up to help save the threatened 47 bus route service.

Campaigners fear jobs could be lost if the Bridport to Yeovil service is withdrawn.

The route was given a temporary stay of execution after Dorset and Somerset county councils stepped in with an emergency subsidiary to keep the service running until the end of the Yeovil College term in June.

A long-term solution is still needed.

Dorset County Councillor for Bridport Ros Kayes said: “Following my presentation with campaigners to the county council’s Environment Overview Committee last month, a small working group has been established to find a way forward.

“It met for the first time last week.

“We are due to meet shortly with representatives from Yeovil College and Somerset County Council, which each have a stake in the peak time service, to agree a way forward.” With-drawing the service would hit college students and workers, who use the 47 to commute.

The route runs daily between Bridport and Yeovil, but also connects smaller villages and towns such as Beaminster, Broadwind-sor and Crewkerne and has a connection to South West Trains.

Many of those affected began a campaign to raise awareness of the issue, as reported in the Bridport News, and a petition has already gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

Cllr Kayes added: “Although at my most recent meeting with campaigners mention was made of use of community buses, it’s clear that the peak time service, which needs to be available both to students, and to those who use it to get to work, as well as those people from Mosterton, Broadwindsor and Drimpton who have to sign on and undertake work related training at Yeovil Job Centre, needs to be more than just a student service.

“I have some concerns that there is talk about the peak time service being important just because students use it.

“There’s far more to it.”

Peter Smith, chairman of Bridport’s Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) said it was important to keep the campaign going.

He said: “They are getting close to running out of time because if they are going to keep the service they need to declare it before a certain date, which is coming up.”

Mr Smith added: “A survey was carried out which shows that there is an average of 23 people using the bus on commuter days and 16 on non-commuter days.

“I think the trouble is they are not keen on the routes which do not run all day.”