LYME Regis councillors want to ease parking congestion in the town – but not by running their own bus at a cost of close to £100,000 a year.

Councillors have already agreed to pay £6,000 for the Charmouth Road park and ride scheme after Dorset County Council withdrew its subsidy but wanted to extend the service from Strawberry Fields.

But after hearing deputy town clerk Mark Tredwin’s figures at the strategy and policy meeting for running the service themselves, councillors said they couldn’t take on the enormous financial commitment.

Mr Tredwin calculated the signs alone would cost £4,000 and that buying a second hand bus on a lease would be around £30,000. An annual vehicle test would cost £1,000 and six-weekly vehicle checks would be £250 each. A weekly brake, steering and suspension test would be £100 and online fault monitoring would be £200 a year.

It was also calculated that fuel costs for the 32 weeks of operation would be more than £15,000, and potential breakdowns would need a contingency rental, that wasnot calculated.

Driver cover would be £6,400 over four years, and contingency driver cover would be over £3,000. Driver training would be £1,000 over four years and a £10,000 fund would be needed to make sure all legal responsibilities and liabilities would be met.

Mr Tredwin also said there was no one on the council’s payroll with experience of running a park and ride service. He said: “Setting up a council-run scheme would consume a huge amount of officer time to ensure the council would not be exposed to a wide variety of risks associated with running what effectively amounts to a bus service.

“It would also mean other projects and officer-led activities would not be able to be focused on, leaving the organisation at risk in other areas.

“It is very hard to put a financial case forward for the council to run its own park and ride.”

Councillor Anita Williams said the council might not want to run its own bus but did want to support solutions to the town’s traffic problems.

She said: “My feeling is echoed by many of the councillors – we don’t think it appropriate that we run a bus.

“We are not a bus company.”

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