A COMMUTER says he is shocked that his bus fare has risen by nearly 80 per cent since a new operator took over the route.

Andy Turner uses the 187 service that has been taken over by operator Damory to travel from Tolpuddle to his work in Dorchester every day.

He said he could not believe it when he was told that the fare had risen from £3.40 under the old operator First to £6.10 under Damory, a rise of 79 per cent.

Andy, 54, said: “I was astounded – I guessed the prices might go up a bit but I just wasn’t expecting it to go up by 79 per cent.

“It makes a real impact on me and my pocket.

“I know there are several other people who used to travel on the old service who have the same view.”

Andy said that he had written to the bus company asking for justification for the rise in price but had not had any response.

He said: “The route hasn’t changed, it’s exactly the same journey at the same time – it’s just more expensive.”

Andy said that he felt increasing prices by such a large amount was hardly likely to encourage people to use public transport.

He said: “I gave up my car when I moved to Tolpuddle mainly because it had the bus service which got me to work and gets me home again.

“You try to encourage people to use the bus but if they have got to pay that amount of money for a short journey they will think ‘I can just get the car’.”

Damory operations manager Adam Keen said: “We understand concerns from passengers about the cost of travelling on buses across Dorset – and we do everything we can to keep our own fares down wherever possible.

“This particular route was financially unviable at the lower ticket price levels, which is why the previous operator was unable to sustain it.

“Our passengers tell us the 187 service is important to them and we are keen to continue providing buses along this route in order to match the current level of demand.

“To do this, we must bring the cost of tickets in line with services elsewhere in the county.

“We have a close relationship with our customers and with local authorities and we are working very hard to provide value for money and the best possible service.

“The number of passengers travelling on this route is very encouraging but we welcome feedback from them on all aspects of our services, including the cost.”