A community bus service linking rural villages to nearby towns is proving its need after it was set up last year due to bus cuts.

The CB3 service was launched in August to link villages around Bridport, Beaminster and Crewkerne on a Saturday, following a host of services being deregistered across Dorset by the county council in a bid to save £1.85m.

It is run by Beaminster Town Council and volunteers with the help of Dorset County Council.

Cllr Chris Turner, chairman of Beaminster Town Council, reported to the council’s planning and highways committee that the service has had a “successful” first six months.

It is also currently making a minor profit, although this would change when the bus needs servicing and other costs associated with its running are taken out.

He said: “There were a lot of people who appreciated what we had done, and we had half a dozen Christmas cards.

“Since the end of October, when I last gave a report to WATAG, we had done about 850 concessions, and we have had another 500 on top of that.

“Total passenger movement would be about 2,200, that is just taking people from one place to another, it may be the same person but at least it is moving people about and proving our need.

“Since the end of October, we have taken over £1,000 in ticket sales.”

After it was announced that First Wessex would not run their Service 6 over the Christmas period, the town council quickly arranged for the CB3 bus to run on December 27 and 28 as they were normal working days.

Cllr Turner added: “We applied for a variation for the CB3 so that we could on December 27 and 28 in place of First’s number 6, which they chose to withdraw.

“As it happens, people were pleased there was a service running and we did manage to get a good publicity around.

“Over the two days, we shifted 134 movements and took about £130 altogether in ticket sales and several donations as well.

“The First bus for Monday, December 31 didn’t run – it was supposed to, it was on schedule to operate on the Monday – so there was an awful lot of disappointed people.

“If we had known that they weren’t going to bother running them on that day, we could have put a variation there as well.

“I am pleased to say that what we did proved that we can get a short-term variation, and it was done very quickly just to run for those two days and it proved the system works.”