Bridport is a fighting town and doesn't intend to see its bus services slashed without a protest.

That was the message Mayor Anne Rickard gave members of the public at last week's full town council meeting.

She said the council would be challenging Dorset County Council about the decimation of bus services.

Councillors heard from angry passengers protesting at the lack of service, especially in the face of cuts to the No 40 which no longer serves Bridport Hospital, Netherbury and villages north of Beaminster.

Bob Driscoll, chairman of Western Area Transport Action Group said: "There has been a fundamental change to the No 40 which is the Bridport to Yeovil via Beaminster service.

"I am very concerned about the way that this has happened.

"This is at trunk route which was ostensibly protected by Dorset County Council, it forms part of their strategic inter urban routes and is supposed to be revenue protected.

"Dorset County Council said it would be protected because it was a core route and there would be a seamless transfer to a new operator.

"This had not actually happened.

"With no notice at all we have lost our hourly service to Dorset County Hospital, they have cut off the frequency of service on trunk route which has been decimated."

Resident Anna Lovell said pensioners could not walk from the town centre to the hospital.

She said officers from Dorset County Council hadn't met with the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group about the lack of access to medical provision and were unlikely to do so until next year.

She said: "I understand there is a legal requirement on the county council to make access medical venues possible 

"It just isn't good enough. Half the people who rely on that [bus] will be dead by then."

Town clerk Bob Gillis said the town council was doing a feasibility study looking at running a community bus service and there would be a report coming to councillors in November setting out the options, costs and process involved in commissioning a service.

Council leader Sarah Williams said the lack of access to the hospital was not the only issue - the lack of buses meant people were more socially isolated, had no access to shops, work or banks.

Mayor Cllr Anne Rickard added: "I can't think why this has been allowed to happen. It is absolutely dreadful.

"We have always been a fighting town.We have been doing that for centuries and we are not about to stop now."