ELDERLY residents and children can use a town bus service which has been temporarily saved, free of charge.

Lyme Regis Town Council stepped in to rescue the 71 town service to continue over the summer after Dorset County Council withdrew its subsidy to bus companies.

The town council has committed up to £4,000 to run the twice-weekly service, called the Lyme Flyer, in partnership with Dorset Community Transport (DCT).

As a further commitment to elderly Lyme Regis residents, the town council is covering the cost of concessionary travel for the interim period, allowing bus pass holders to continue to ride for free. Travel is also be free for under 18s, and all other passengers will pay a £2 return fare.

The register-to-ride bus service operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, broadly operating on the same route as the former service 71. The Lyme Flyer runs from 10am or 11am into Lyme Regis town centre, dropping off in Broad Street, with return journeys departing at 12pm or 1pm from the Post Office bus stop.

Lyme Regis Medical Centre and Kent House Medical and Dental Practice can be serviced on request.

The Lyme Flyer will run until Friday, September 1. Passengers must initially register to travel with DCT, and book a seat on the 16-seat accessible minibus in advance of travel.

Cllr Cheryl Reynolds, chairman of the tourism, community and publicity committee, said: “There is no doubt in the minds of councillors that the town bus is an essential service that must be maintained in whatever way possible.

“We hope passengers will appreciate the effort the town council has made to retain a service, albeit a reduced service for the time being."

She added: “The council’s decision to honour concessionary bus passes to allow the elderly to ride for free, as well as under 18s, shows its commitment to residents who rely on this service.

“Booking a seat on the bus is very easy and straightforward and I would encourage anyone who regularly uses the existing town bus to register with Dorset Community Transport to ensure they can continue to access services, shops and medical practices in the town.

“Moving forward, the council is exploring how the service could operate from September onwards.”

Bookings cannot be made more than seven days in advance of travel and must be made by 2.30pm before the day of travel.

To register and to book a seat, call Kari at DCT on 01258 287980, Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 2.30pm, or email dorset@ectcharity.co.uk