A KINDHEARTED donor has stepped in to ensure a bus service can go ahead over the Christmas period.

First Wessex had announced they intended to run a Saturday only service for Route 6 between Beaminster, Bridport and Bridport Hospital from Wednesday, December 27 to Friday, 29 as part of the Christmas timetable.

But campaigners at the West Dorset Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) raised concerns that this would leave people unable to get into Bridport between Christmas and New Year.

They appealed to First Wessex and now, a donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has provided the cash to make the timetable run almost as normal.

A spokesman for WATAG said: “Please note that there are some changes from the usual timetable and that the 6 will not operate north of Beaminster. On some journeys, Yeovil can be accessed from Bridport by changing at Beaminster; both operators will try to ensure that connections are maintained (between the 6 and 40) at Beaminster Square.”

Now, campaigners are urging people to use the service and help make it a success. The long-term plan for the route is uncertain. In October Dorset County Council agreed two new services to replace the No 40 and ensure a continued route between Bridport and Yeovil. First agreed to operate a commercial service, No 6, while the county council provides the new No 40, jointly funded by Yeovil College. A spokesman for DCC said at the time that the involved parties would have three months to gauge the level of demand for the service and make longer-term decisions.

Philip Sankey, chairman of WATAG, said: “When WATAG became aware that First Wessex intended to run a Saturday only service on 27-29 December, meaning no service on the 6 route, WATAG asked First to reconsider. They refused to do so even after we pointed out that DCC were operating their normal service 40. First were then asked if they would run the service if their costs were covered, and what those costs would be. They were willing to work on this basis and with the figures, WATAG was successful in obtaining funding from a local individual.”

He added: “We have responded to the voices of the local community by working to get this service in place.  Now it is there, it is important that it is used.  If we can achieve good numbers on the service, it will strengthen the case for a sensible and long term solution for this important and strategic inter-urban route, including the reinstatement of a Saturday service.” 

Visit watag.org.uk