I am writing to you in reference to the article ‘Weymouth train station gateway criticised amid ‘lack of support’ from bus operator’ published on Friday 14 May.

Read the article 'Weymouth train station gateway criticsed' here

As a bus operator committed to providing fit-for-purpose bus services in Dorset, we support closer integration between bus and train services wherever possible and where there is a compelling business case.

As such, my colleagues and I have been working closely with our partners at Dorset Council, South Western Railway and a number of other key stakeholders on the Weymouth Gateway project.

As many of your readers will undoubtedly know, during the summer period we normally operate only 4 routes along King Street (1, X53, 501 and 502 - increasing to 5 at the end of the month) and 2 routes (1 and X53) during winter that could feasibly be diverted to stop at the station forecourt. Of these, we’ve confirmed Service X53 will serve the station forecourt when works are completed in early 2022.

During the summer the 502 will also call at the forecourt. We are investigating if more services operating along King Street can call at the station during the summer period.

Service 1 is a high-frequency service which already faces a number of challenges in terms of keeping to time due to congestion on Weymouth’s road network.

The vast majority of the route doesn’t have the benefit of bus priority measures such as dedicated bus lanes and priority at traffic light junctions, which are proven to make bus journeys more reliable, punctual and potentially cut overall journey time.

If bus priority measures along the route would be introduced, and providing these measures deliver enough time savings in the schedule, then it would be technically feasible for Service 1 to call at the station.

However, as a responsible bus operator we also have a duty to look after the interests of our existing customers.

As things stand, diverting into the station forecourt will effectively prolong the journey for each and every of some 35 customers onboard Service 1 for possibly 1 additional customer per journey.

For this reason we’ve suggested a perfectly workable compromise by establishing a new bus stop on King Street, situated almost directly opposite the train station that Service 1 could call at.

This stop will meet the shared objectives of improving integration between bus and trains and negate the inconvenience (and time lost) of going on a diversion that is of no benefit to our regular customers.


Operations Manager, First Wessex