Campaign to prevent cuts to bus service

Dorset Echo: Campaign to prevent cuts to bus service Campaign to prevent cuts to bus service

A PETITION has been created calling on First Bus to stop a ‘catastrophe.’ The company plans to cut down the number of Number 31 buses through Martinstown and Winterbourne Steepleton Jon Walker, 52, who lives in Martinstown and started the petition, said this would be a ‘blow to the communities.’ West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin has also spoken out about the plans.

He said: “This is a real problem. People in Martinstown and Winterbourne Steepleton need to be able to get to the bus, and I am currently trying to get the bus company to change their mind.

“I expect to hear from the chief executive in the next few days.”

The changes will see the service reduced from one an hour to twice a day.

First Bus said the main reason for the changes was to ‘improve the reliability of the service and match the resources in use against demand.’ First Bus said they had managed to keep the two busiest peak journeys to and from Dorchester through the villages.

They added they would be happy to meet residents to explore solutions where the new timetable would not meet their travel needs.

Mr Walker has set up an online petition calling on the bus company to keep the hourly service. So far it has more than 170 signatures.

Mr Walker said: “It’s a private company but it’s a public service and a lot of people will be affected.”

He added: “To reduce it to two buses a day it would be catastrophic.”

The bus was used by young and old Mr Walker said.

He said: “I don’t use the bus myself – I’m fighting the principal.

“It’s an essential service for a rural community and something that should be fought for.”

As well as locals using the service, there were tourists that used it to get to the area for walking.

Mr Walker said: “If you look at it in the whole context, it’s not just a case of a few people not taking the bus during the day. It’s got a big community impact.”

n To visit the petition visit change.org and search for First Dorset. Or follow this link: http://chn.ge/1ii5VtZ

  • A FIRST spokesperson said the service provided a large number of roles along the route including school and rail links, as well as the busy Bridport to Axminster service.

At times the service had failed to fulfil its roles including missing connections and so the new timetable was realigned to meet trains in Axminster and Dorchester South stations.

The spokesman added: “In order to do this, however most journeys during the day will no longer serve Martinstown. We have retained the two busiest peak journeys to and from Dorchester through the village which accounts for around a third of the passengers.”

First Bus said they had met with DCC to see whether an alternative could be provided for off-peak concessionary customers.

The spokesman said: “At this time no firm replacement services have been identified except for Service 61 which operates on Wednesdays through the village to and from Dorchester.”
First Bus said they would be happy to meet with the residents and DCC to discuss opportunities and try and find a solution for off-peak travellers.

Comments (8)

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7:46am Wed 16 Apr 14

mark@greenhill says...

Clearly not enough of these people complaining actually use the bus.
I don't mean once or twice a week, I mean every day, which is what is required to make the service viable.
Many, many villages have no bus service at all for exactly the same reason, if you don't use it in sufficient numbers, it will go, why should Martinstown be any different?
Clearly not enough of these people complaining actually use the bus. I don't mean once or twice a week, I mean every day, which is what is required to make the service viable. Many, many villages have no bus service at all for exactly the same reason, if you don't use it in sufficient numbers, it will go, why should Martinstown be any different? mark@greenhill
  • Score: 0

8:41am Wed 16 Apr 14

Fich 26 says...

mark@greenhill - How quick you are to comment yet again. I was hoping you'd have something useful to say. I suppose it hasn't occurred to you that you live in a town where all the facilities you need are within walking distance? How on earth can you possibly relate to this situation, or indeed comment on something you clearly are not affected by !
mark@greenhill - How quick you are to comment yet again. I was hoping you'd have something useful to say. I suppose it hasn't occurred to you that you live in a town where all the facilities you need are within walking distance? How on earth can you possibly relate to this situation, or indeed comment on something you clearly are not affected by ! Fich 26
  • Score: 3

8:56am Wed 16 Apr 14

Schrodinger's Cat says...

Mr Walker said: “It’s a private company but it’s a public service"

And that is the problem in a nutshell.
Mr Walker said: “It’s a private company but it’s a public service" And that is the problem in a nutshell. Schrodinger's Cat
  • Score: 4

9:46am Wed 16 Apr 14

arlbergbahn says...

Is the question one of cost or whether the timetable needs to be made more reliable? If it is cost, how can diverting them round that way make any discernible difference to cost? Surely the difference in fuel costs must be negligible, and there's no other reason why it need cost more, surely? And regarding reliability, well, they could help a lot there by trying to make sure the buses are maintained adequately, I'd have thought that saving on breakdowns would make a big difference to costs.
Is the question one of cost or whether the timetable needs to be made more reliable? If it is cost, how can diverting them round that way make any discernible difference to cost? Surely the difference in fuel costs must be negligible, and there's no other reason why it need cost more, surely? And regarding reliability, well, they could help a lot there by trying to make sure the buses are maintained adequately, I'd have thought that saving on breakdowns would make a big difference to costs. arlbergbahn
  • Score: 5

10:05am Wed 16 Apr 14

Fred Kite says...

To save time why run the 31 through the day time via the Peverell Avenues and Queen mum square when the number 6 suffices,? just do that Sundays and evenings and route the 31 the quicker old way along Middle Farm Way or what ever it is called that runs parallel to the bye pass, perhaps this will help the timetable? The amount of passengers for Bridport from Middle Farm/ New Poundbury is similar in volume to those from Martinstown and could still be catered for via the existing stop along Middle Farm Way.
To save time why run the 31 through the day time via the Peverell Avenues and Queen mum square when the number 6 suffices,? just do that Sundays and evenings and route the 31 the quicker old way along Middle Farm Way or what ever it is called that runs parallel to the bye pass, perhaps this will help the timetable? The amount of passengers for Bridport from Middle Farm/ New Poundbury is similar in volume to those from Martinstown and could still be catered for via the existing stop along Middle Farm Way. Fred Kite
  • Score: 4

10:06am Wed 16 Apr 14

Zummerzet Lad says...

I was Union Branch Chairman at Yeovil Depot of Southern National during the time the deregulation of Bus services was planned to become law.

We had leaflets made asking passengers to protest to the government with a logo of a giant axe over a bus stating Don't let the axe fall on your service.

This was aimed for rural services. A public meeting was arranged with representatives of Southern National and owners of the independent companies including Safeways of South Petherton plus MP to discuss the matter with members of public. The public voted overall to saying no to proposals.

Fell on deaf ears and that Axe over Bus design I created all those years ago is still relevant today. Most of the local bus companies like Safeways have gone and the world is a poorer place.

The most damaging part of legislation was preventing bus companies from cross subsidising their own routes. This would involve some profits from busy town routes being diverted to prop up less profitable rural routes.

The opening up of competition and break up of National Bus Company has led to small local operators disappearing and large companies like First, Stagecoach, Go Ahead and Arriva coming to the fore. Almost full circle prior to large companies becoming National Bus Company.

Perhaps government should look at cross subsidy again which could lessen County Council funding of some routes and save services to rural areas.
I was Union Branch Chairman at Yeovil Depot of Southern National during the time the deregulation of Bus services was planned to become law. We had leaflets made asking passengers to protest to the government with a logo of a giant axe over a bus stating Don't let the axe fall on your service. This was aimed for rural services. A public meeting was arranged with representatives of Southern National and owners of the independent companies including Safeways of South Petherton plus MP to discuss the matter with members of public. The public voted overall to saying no to proposals. Fell on deaf ears and that Axe over Bus design I created all those years ago is still relevant today. Most of the local bus companies like Safeways have gone and the world is a poorer place. The most damaging part of legislation was preventing bus companies from cross subsidising their own routes. This would involve some profits from busy town routes being diverted to prop up less profitable rural routes. The opening up of competition and break up of National Bus Company has led to small local operators disappearing and large companies like First, Stagecoach, Go Ahead and Arriva coming to the fore. Almost full circle prior to large companies becoming National Bus Company. Perhaps government should look at cross subsidy again which could lessen County Council funding of some routes and save services to rural areas. Zummerzet Lad
  • Score: 5

12:13pm Wed 16 Apr 14

trymybest says...

First buses problems are solely down to management,if they brought back bus inspectors that made sure the 31 left Weymouth on time and not at the whim of the bus drivers the bus would meet the train on time, and when the buses are running late back from Bridport the inspector can get another bus out of the bus station to leave to the time table, the late bus would then return to the bus station "simple" at prsent if the 31 is 10 minutes late arriving back to Weymouth it will be 25 minutes late leaving again. Also the 31 left Turnstall close Weymouth today at 10.20 some 20 minuts late and it was standing room only most of the customer l dare say have bus passes going to Dorchester or Martintown/ Winterbourne Steepleton, so WHY when you tell the driver at the time you present your pass you wish to go to Dorchester you get a set ticket going where the bus terminates which is Bridport. Which means that any figures that the management wish to present do not match what is really happening on the 31 route.
First buses problems are solely down to management,if they brought back bus inspectors that made sure the 31 left Weymouth on time and not at the whim of the bus drivers the bus would meet the train on time, and when the buses are running late back from Bridport the inspector can get another bus out of the bus station to leave to the time table, the late bus would then return to the bus station "simple" at prsent if the 31 is 10 minutes late arriving back to Weymouth it will be 25 minutes late leaving again. Also the 31 left Turnstall close Weymouth today at 10.20 some 20 minuts late and it was standing room only most of the customer l dare say have bus passes going to Dorchester or Martintown/ Winterbourne Steepleton, so WHY when you tell the driver at the time you present your pass you wish to go to Dorchester you get a set ticket going where the bus terminates which is Bridport. Which means that any figures that the management wish to present do not match what is really happening on the 31 route. trymybest
  • Score: -1

10:37pm Wed 16 Apr 14

jcrwey says...

Another problem was the removal of all council support 3 years agot. This 6 figure subsidy (approx. £150000) is no longer paid and the 31 needs to fund itself.
Another problem was the removal of all council support 3 years agot. This 6 figure subsidy (approx. £150000) is no longer paid and the 31 needs to fund itself. jcrwey
  • Score: 0

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