CONFUSED passengers have found themselves travelling to the wrong places because two bus services have the same number.

Operators are in the process of changing route numbers because of confusion about Dorchester area services.

Passengers of two different number 5 buses have been helped by locals at the Trinity Street bus stop in Dorchester after they kept getting on the wrong bus. Some have not been so lucky and ended up travelling to the wrong village.

The number 5 bus from Dorchester to Yeovil via Charminster and Sherborne is operated by South West Coaches on behalf of Dorset Council and was previously named the X11.

Dorset Echo:

Following a change, the bus shared the same name as the number 5 service from the county town to Weymouth via Broadmayne and Crossways, run by Damory Coaches.

Dorset Echo:

Keith Beeson, 80, has lived in Charminster for 20 years and said over the last year he's had to guide many of those that aren't regulars of the service, to make sure they are on the right bus.

He said: "A lot of travellers, old and infirm end up going the wrong way, and I help them off the bus as they'll end up in Charminster instead of Crossways."

Mr Beeson said that his wife helps him with an app to so he knows which way to travel, but raised his concerns for those who have difficulty in using technology.

He said that those that do get on the bus thinking they will be travelling to Crossways end up getting off at the first stop at Charminster, forcing them to wait two hours before the return service to Dorchester, where they can change again to reach Weymouth.

Mr Beeson thinks there was more confusion due to the flat £2 bus rate on single fares, meaning that people don't know which bus they're on sometimes.

Describing the situation as 'unfair,' Mr Beeson said: "It's not too difficult to change it from 5, there are other numbers available but they went for that."

Following negotiations between the council and Damory, a decision was made to change the number of the bus to Yeovil to avoid further confusion for users of the service.

A spokesperson for Damory said: "Damory has been liaising with the council to resolve the issue."

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: "Taking passengers' comments into account, the Dorchester to Yeovil service has been re-named CR5 and this will change in December.

"There is a 42-day statutory waiting period for any changes to take effect."

Dorchester town councillor Tim Harries said: “I’m glad they’ve taken the right action and I hope that no one had too nasty an experience.”

Cllr Harries went on to thank Mr Beeson for his work in helping people at the bus stop.

He said: “Thank heavens for citizens doing the right thing and sorting the situation out.

“It’s nice to see the council doing something at speed on the advice of local people."