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Delight on X53 bus service u-turn for West Dorset
PASSENGERS are delighted after the X53 coastal bus Sunday service was saved until the end of the year.
The vehicle was due to stop on Sundays on November 4 after Dorset County Council couldn’t find funding.
But now the authority has performed a u-turn and has found about £8,000 to keep the Sunday services going until the end of 2012.
Dorset county councillor Ron Coatsworth said: “I am delighted that people will be able to use their bus service on Sundays during the winter.
“It is important as people can become isolated in villages.”
The Jurassic Coast Bus Service runs along the Dorset coast and into Devon.
It includes stops in Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Morcombelake, Chideock, Bridport, West Bay, Burton Bradstock, Abbotsbury, Portesham, Chickerell, and Weymouth. Coun Coatsworth said he hoped another £10,000 could be found at County Hall to ensure the service resumes to cover January, February and March as well.
He said: “It will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting. I am optimistic.
“The case has been made.”
He added that people should make sure they use the bus if they.
The county council’s proposals to halt its funding for the Sunday service sparked out an outcry.
The Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) was concerned about the move and has welcomed the news that the Sunday service has been saved.
WATAG committee member Philip Sankey, from Lyme Regis, said: “We welcome the stay of execution and hope careful thought will be given to what can be sensibly provided in the longer term. From a Lyme Regis perspective it’s not so critical for us because we still have the 31 but if, as happened last year, the service stops at Lyme Regis, there is actually a Lyme Regis to Sidmouth gap and there is no alternative bus provided.
“But rather than spending all the money to run a two-hourly service between now and Christmas, what happened in previous winters up until 2010/11 was a three-hourly service, which would make the money stretch further.
“The communities we really feel for are on the road between Bridport and Chickerell because there is no alternative.”
Mr Sankey believes the summer service should also start earlier in the year.
“In the depths of winter the bus is poorly used but from about February half term onwards the service picks up,” he said.
“I would have thought as a minimum the summer service could be started from Easter instead of the end of April.”
Alan Williams, another WATAG committee member, has also warned of changes to the 31 service from Axminster to Weymouth.
He warned that the first and last services on Sunday mornings and evenings on the 31 were stopping on Sundays over the winter.