Commuter misery after disappearance of No 47 service

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: AXED: The now defunct No 47 service AXED: The now defunct No 47 service

THE misery for commuters trying to get from Bridport to Yeovil since the demise of the No 47 service continues.

There were hopes that the situation could be resolved in the short term, after an anonymous donor offered £5,000 to keep the service going during the summer college holidays.

But bus campaigners say even though Damory has been allowed to register a service it is of no help to people trying to get to work because it doesn’t leave Bridport until 9.50am.

Andy Pennington, who works in Yeovil said it was very stressful and he was relying on friends to give him lifts to work.

He said: “It is a real struggle and I am really grateful to friends and there are four of us being ferried that way but it is not a great way to get to work.

“It’s a bit tenuous and it’s just four of us and doesn’t include all the others who catch the bus. If you look at the timetable for people working, the extension to the No 40 is an irrelevance.

“And the link up from Yeovil to Crewkerne leaves only a one or two minute window.

“Anything is better than nothing but it is completely irrelevant to us and no replacement for the 47.”

Damory operations manager Adam Keen said it is only viable for a commercial bus operator to run an off-peak service.

He said: “When First de-registered their 47 service, it left Crewkerne, Misterton and Mosterton without a link to Beaminster or Bridport.

“We have extended our 40 service to run to these villages commercially, at our own risk, but our initial offering is an off-peak service only, as this is what can be operated viably by a commercial bus operator.

“We will monitor its performance over the coming few weeks with a view to considering what options to pursue in the future.

“We are awaiting the decision of Dorset County Council and Somerset County Council in the coming few weeks and once that is known, we can decide what to do with the route in the longer term.

“Certainly, we carried many passengers on Monday who were very happy with the initial offering.

“Conversations continue with various parties about the possibility of a long-term solution to Yeovil journeys and we remain entirely open-minded and positive.”

Mr Pennington has sent an open letter to Dorset County Council leader Spencer Flower pointing out the council’s own local transport plan stressed availability and frequency of public transport as a key issue in rural Dorset because of access to jobs, education, and essential services.

Dorset County Council cabinet members agreed yesterday to confine the subsidy to their statutory obligation to get students to college in term time.

There will be no subsidy out of term time to ensure a peak time service for commuters.

Cllr Ros Kayes said: “I would like to thank the cabinet for taking the responsible option in recognising the desperate need for students to get to college.

“I know how pleased they will be to hear this news.

“I’d also like to thank the officers who have worked so hard negotiating with the bus companies to sort this out.

“I will continue to explore measures to support workers getting into Yeovil during the college holidays when the bus will not be running. I remain very hopeful that if we can use the donation that has been offered that we will be able to subsidise the non-term bus for the future as well.”

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