GOBSMACKED! That was my reaction to the new winter timetable that First has imposed on Bridport and surrounds for the winter, with tacit consent from Dorset Council.

Admittedly, there appears to have been no consultation on the savage cuts but I must question Dorset Council’s commitment to encouraging people to use public transport more.

The new timetable will make it impossible for some people to get to work by bus, but more on that later.

In the world of First Bus, winter does not start in say, November, but on September 22. A website error actually displayed the timetables as starting on September 1, and this was eventually removed. This is the world of First Bus, where their website proudly told people they could take the bus to the cliffs of Weymouth to see where Broadchurch was filmed. Local knowledge?

The first bus from Weymouth to Bridport leaves at 8.56am, arriving at Bridport at 10am. Useless for those who need to start work at 9am.

The last bus from Dorchester will be at 6.20pm making a day trip to London all but impossible by public transport as the connecting train is at 3.35pm, although given the well publicised issues with South Western Railways, I would recommend the 3.05pm train to guarantee a connection.

The earliest bus to Axminster has been re-timed to arrive at 7.53am, missing the 7.37am train to Exeter. The earliest one can now arrive in Exeter is 9.44am.

Dorset Council recently declared a Climate Emergency. Encouraging people to use public transport does not seem to be high on their agenda.

Otherwise excellent emails from the council never mention public transport, and this matches a complete lack of interest in marketing from First Bus.

They blame Freedom Pass holders (and that system does need refreshing) yet do nothing to market their services to people who are willing to pay.

Finally, I would like to thank Alan Williams who has sponsored a Sunday service to Weymouth until December. We need to use and support this initiative otherwise we will lose more and more buses, at a time when we should be ditching unnecessary car journeys.

Brydian Mews