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Petition launched over bus route changes
PENSIONERS have spoken out over fears that planned changes to bus routes will leave them isolated in village communities.
It comes as a petition is launched against Dorset County Council’s proposed changes to subsidised services, which could lead to some services being withdrawn altogether.
A consultation is taking place and people can give their views online or in writing.
Joyce Luker 66, of Crossways, said the reduced service would affect a lot of people.
“Crossways has a lot of pensioners, and a lot of young families who can’t afford cars.
“We rely on the buses to get to town, go to the lovely markets in Dorchester, and the Saturday matinees at the cinema.
“Taking this service away will leave us isolated.”
The county council is proposing the changes in a bid to deliver better value for money, and rural services costing more than £5 per passenger will be withdrawn, as well as services carrying an average of less than seven passengers.
Pamela Edwards, 59, of Puncknowle, said: “You lose that bit of independence if you can’t get into town on a Saturday for the market.
“A lot of my friends rely on it to go and do their shopping. I know you can order it online, but a lot of people don’t have computers.”
She added: “It would be a really bad decision to cut this service.”
Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset County Council, said: “We are keen to understand the individual impacts that the changes will have.
“We can then look to helping with community initiatives in the highlighted areas that can provide residents with a better, tailored service that fits their needs.
“Many of the rural buses have very little usage and we have had to look at ways of providing a better value for money service by empowering local groups to work together.SOCIAL CONTACTS
“In all parts of Dorset there have been successes with neighbourcar and dial-a-car schemes that offer residents a bespoke service.”
Full details of the proposal can be found at dorsetforyou.com and bus users have until September 24 to give their views.
This can be done online, through town and parish councils, or by writing to Dorset Passenger Transport, Dorset County Council, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ.
The final decision on the changes will be made at a Dorset County Council cabinet meeting on October 2.
Greens set to speak out
THE South and West Dorset Green Party are organising a campaign, including a petition, to speak out against the cuts to bus services.
The party says the proposals will have a ‘detrimental’ impact on those who most rely on public transport.
Green Party officer Jane Burnet said: “Good quality, regular and reliable public transport enables the elderly to maintain social contacts, the young to travel to school, work or job interviews, helps reduce the impact of climate change, has the potential to make roads safer if there are less cars about and ensures residents in more remote areas of our county do not feel socially or economically isolated.”
To sign the petition, please go to the website at www.westandsouthdorset.greenparty.org.uk
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