Misery for West Dorset commuters continues as summer bus service is hacked back

Dorset Echo: OFF PEAK: Damory service ‘no help’ to commuters OFF PEAK: Damory service ‘no help’ to commuters

THE misery for commuters trying to get from Bridport to Yeovil since the demise of the No 47 continues.

There were hopes after an anonymous donor offered £5,000 to keep the service going during the summer college holidays that the situation could be resolved in the short term.

But bus campaigners say although Damory have been allowed to register a service – it’s of no help to people trying to get to work because it doesn’t leave Bridport until 9.50am.

Andy Pennington, who works in Yeovil said it was very stressful and he was relying on friends to give him lifts to work.

He said: “It is a real struggle and I am really grateful to friends and there are four of us being ferried that way but it is not a great way to get to work.

“If you look at the timetable for people working the extension to the No 40 is an irrelevance. And the link up from Yeovil to Crewkerne leaves only a one or two minute window.

Damory operations manager Adam Keen said it is only viable for a commercial bus operator to run an off-peak service.

He said: “When First de-registered their 47 service, it left Crewkerne, Misterton and Mosterton without a link to Beaminster or Bridport.

“We have extended our 40 service to run to these villages commercially, at our own risk, but our initial offering is an off-peak service only as this is what can be operated viably by a commercial bus operator.

“We will monitor its performance over the coming few weeks with a view to considering what options to pursue in the future.

“We are awaiting the decision of Dorset County Council and Somerset County Council in the coming few weeks and once that is known, we can decide what to do with the route longer-term.

“Certainly, we carried many passengers on Monday who were very happy with the initial offering.

“Conversations continue with various parties about the possibility of a long-term solution to Yeovil journeys and we remain entirely open-minded and positive.”

Mr Pennington has sent an open letter to Dorset County Council leader Spencer Flower pointing out the council’s own local transport plan stressed availability and frequency of public transport as a key issue in rural Dorset because of access to jobs, education, and essential services.

Dorset County Council members were due to discuss the issue under exempt business at their cabinet meeting yesterday.

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