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Public pressure brings U-turn on bus services in Dorchester
COUNCILLORS are celebrating a victory for Dorchester residents after the town’s bus routes were saved.
Services came under threat after operator Damory announced it could no longer run the routes on a commercial basis.
However, following lengthy discussions with Dorset County Council, Damory has now agreed to run a revised service from today.
The numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 Dorchester town services were among the routes Damory said it would be pulling out of.
However, an agreement has been struck that will see Damory operate a new service merging the existing routes 1 and 2 to cover Victoria Park, Castle Park, Poundbury Road and Normandy Way with additional afternoon services.
Damory will also run a new service covering Fordington, Syward Close, Fordington Fields and Manor Park, which were previously covered on the number 3 and 4 routes. The number 95 school service is also set to continue.
Dorchester councillors ran a petition to urge the county council to do all it could to preserve the town’s bus links and are delighted that they are set to continue.
Town and district councillor Molly Rennie said everyone who signed the petition or wrote letters backing the buses had played a part in maintaining the routes.
Fellow town and district councillor Stella Jones said: “I think we also want to thank the county council for listening to those people and realising there is a need in the town for a bus service. Hopefully we will continue to have one.”
Coun Rennie added: “Now people must make use of it.”
Bus user Valerie Cheney, from Castle Park, welcomed the news the services would be continuing.
She said: “We are absolutely over the moon with it all.”
Of the routes around Dorchester, the number 7 route serving Charlton Down and Charminster will no longer run but the 216 service from Yeovil will be diverted to serve Charlton Down with more regular buses.
The 103 route serving Bovington has also been revised and the 387 service between Dorchester and Poole will be run by First Hampshire with earlier and later runs than before to cover the loss of the 347 service.
OPERATOR PLEASED AFTER TALKS
OPERATOR Damory Coaches said it was pleased an agreement had been reached with Dorset County Council over the future of the Dorchester bus services.
Contracts manager Ian Gray said the company was delighted to work with the council to ensure services in the Dorchester area could be sustained.
He said: “Everyone involved is focused on the need to provide as many bus services as economically possible in the region. These new services are as a result of close collaboration and partnership with the Dorset County Council.”