A COUPLE experienced an afternoon of travel chaos while trying to catch a bus to West Bay.

Godfrey and Sue Hall were waiting at a bus stop in Lyme Regis for the X53 bus, when it arrived full of school children. As the bus was at full capacity, the couple, along with other queuing passengers, were forced to wait for more than an hour for the next X53 bus.

While waiting, Mr Hall decided it would be quicker to catch the X51 bus and walk from one of the route’s stops to their static caravan in West Bay.

Shortly after catching the next X51 bus, which was a double decker bus, the service broke down on Charmouth Hill dashing their hopes for a quick journey back.

A spokesman for First Wessex explained the incident.

He said: “The vehicle that unfortunately broke down was on Charmouth Hill at 16:45. We promptly diverted a bus coming off another service, that picked up the passengers at approximately 17:07 allowing them to complete their journey.”

Mr Hall said that if a double decker bus had been used earlier to carry the school children and other passengers then journeys may not have been delayed.

He added: “It seems to me that First Wessex don’t seem to have their act together.

“If they had used the double decker bus earlier, they would have been able to carry the school children and other passengers. Why don’t they run a bigger service?”

However, a spokesman for First Buses explained the X53 school bus is forced to use a single deck to carry the school children because it travels through Whitchurch Canonicorum, where there are low hanging trees, as part of its route.

He said: “We operate two buses from The Woodroffe School in the afternoon heading towards Bridport, using a double deck and a single deck. As one of the routes travels via Whitchurch Canonicorum, which has low hanging trees over the road, this would damage a double deck bus. However, this road is currently on Dorset County Council’s tree trimming list and when it’s completed we will be able to use a double deck bus.

“As we don’t receive any support from the local authorities for these routes, it’s imperative that we maintain the viability of the service by allowing students to travel on it. If the students were taken off the routes, we would not be able to operate as many journeys as we do now. As almost 50% of the passengers that use these services are concessions travellers, this is the only feasible way we ensure that the service covers the cost of operation.”


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