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Hope for Weymouth community as operators step in to provide new bus service
THERE’S hope for a Weymouth community which faced losing its bus link after it was revealed other operators were stepping in to provide services.
County council chiefs have been negotiating with bus firms after First announced it was cutting some loss-making routes from March 24.
Among those is the service 5 to Southill which is relied on by many elderly people and day centre users.
They joined a demonstration last month calling for the ‘lifeline’ to be saved.
South West Coaches will run a less frequent service with three return journeys a day on schooldays.
It will provide a bus link to town and Morrisons supermarket.
Damory Coaches will also divert its 253 Weymouth to Bridport service via Southill. This will run Monday to Friday, including school holidays.
DCC cabinet member for highways and transportation Peter Finney said: “I am delighted. Bus services are vital to communities and I’m extremely pleased that a solution has been found.”
Councillors are organising a public meeting to keep residents updated. It will take place in the Emmanuel church hall, Radipole Lane, Southill, at 10am on Saturday, March 23.
County councillor David Harris, who organised last month’s demonstration, said: “It’s good news that South West Coaches can provide us with three buses a day. I’ll still be pressing the county council to look at this route when it reviews subsidies for bus journeys and I hope we can try and find a way to encourage bus operators to provide a better service.”
DCC is currently consulting to help it make decisions about the future of local services. Subsidised bus services in Dorset cost almost £3m a year and the council wants to ensure the money is being spent wisely.
To have your say on the bus consultation request a copy of the questionnaire by calling 01305 224535 or download it from dorsetforyou.com/busconsultation
Route saved for now
A BUS will continue to run to Sutton Poyntz for now. But the future of the service depends on whether work is done to address traffic issues.
Sutton Poyntz is another community that faced losing its bus link but discussions have led to First looking at service 4B again.
The main reason for First pulling out was that buses find it hard to drive through the village due to parking concerns.
Dorset County Council will be investigating these issues along with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council which is responsible for yellow lines and parking restrictions.
A spokesman for First said: “This is a positive development and it means that we have been able to issue a short notice registration for the reinstatement of services to and from Sutton Poyntz. Assuming the traffic commissioner approves the registration this means that the service will be retained on an hourly basis.
“We would advise customers though that the buses are being put back in on the proviso that the traffic manage-ment issues are resolved within four months.”