Once again, the focus of attention in the Dorchester and Bridport area has been on buses. For the inhabitants of Martinstown and Winterbourne Steepleton, the issue has been the re-routing of the no. 31 bus so that (other than in the early morning and late afternoons) it will no longer run through these two villages. Despite a huge wave of concern and considerable efforts made by councillors, we have not so far been able either to get any kind of delay in the implementation of the changes or funding for a reduced service.
At present, if nothing changes, people needing public transport into Dorchester or Bridport from these villages will have to rely on a dial-a-ride service – and even this has not yet been finalised.
A further public meeting is planned for early June, I understand, and discussions are continuing but I really do think that these villages, which lie only just off the A35, should be able to support a proper bus service.
Of equal concern is the no 47 bus, which runs from Bridport to Yeovil, and which was put in question earlier this year but then was given a new lease of life until the end of the school year.
There are really two, related but different, problems here. The most acute is the need for the considerable number of students who travel from the Bridport area to Yeovil College to have a means of transport. As I have mentioned in a previous column, this is a vital lifeline, as there are many students who simply couldn’t get to college without the bus.
I have been in touch with the County Council about this on several occasions over the past few months, and I am reasonably optimistic that a solution will be found in conjunction with Yeovil College and Somerset County Council – so we need to remain vigilant about this.
More worrying, is the situation for people that need to travel during the day from Bridport to Yeovil. This is where our attention now needs to be focused.