A PUBLIC park and ride service between Weymouth and Dorchester will be axed at the end of the month – but council workers will get their own minibus service instead.

West Dorset District Council said it will trial the minibus for three months but that it is not possible to work out what the cost would be to the taxpayer.

The X11 service, which leaders say was only a temporary measure during the development of West Dorset District Council’s controversial new offices in Dorchester’s Charles Street, will end on January 31.

The minibus will operate between the Mount Pleasant Park and Ride Site in Weymouth and Dorchester for district council employees.

West Dorset District Council Leader Robert Gould said: “The X11 service was introduced as a temporary measure while part of the Charles Street car park was unavailable during the construction of the new offices for West Dorset District Council and the new library and adult learning centre built for Dorset County Council. The building work is now complete and the X11 service will end on 31 January."

A Dorchester Town councillor has criticised the decision to lay on the minibus service for council staff who have seen their place of work move from Weymouth to Dorchester.

Coun David Taylor said: “I was a bit surprised to hear they are suspending the park and ride and putting in its place mini buses so the council workers are going to keep using the park and ride facilities and get ferried to and from work. This seems an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ funds to benefit and give more perks to council employees. I thought the role of West Dorset District Council was to serve its community and not the other way around.

“This regime seems to be out of touch with community needs and also should help with business and community, making travel easier and cheaper instead of once again removing a vital link between Dorchester and Weymouth.”

But the joint council partnership said it has saved £2m in the merge and the minibus service for its workers will be ‘green and cost effective’.

David Evans, director of environment for West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “The shared service partnership between the councils has saved local taxpayers £2 million a year and enabled both councils to protect essential services at a time when our funding from Government is falling.

“The two councils now share one workforce and many staff have seen their base location change or are required to travel between Weymouth and Dorchester.

“Providing a minibus service at peak times is a green and cost effective way to get staff who have a new work base to and from work.”

n The normal park and ride services from Mount Pleasant in to Weymouh are not affected.