CONCERNS have been raised that buses running to and from the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland Port are often carrying no passengers.

Buses run to and from the Bibby Stockholm barge to allow asylum seekers to leave the secure port.

Dorset Echo: The Bibby Stockholm Barge at Portland PortThe Bibby Stockholm Barge at Portland Port (Image: PA)

A bus service runs hourly to allow asylum seekers to visit local towns to attend classes, take part in other activities in the community, or visit friends and family. 

But buses have been seen by residents carrying little or no passengers on some days.

It has frustrated some locals who have complained that buses across the country continue to be cut with services being stretched.

A concerned Weymouth resident, who did not want to be named, said: "It is with real frustration that I observe multiple double-decker buses empty of residents from the Bibby Stockholm travelling back and forth from Portland to Weymouth daily.

"Bibby Stockholm residents are welcome in our community and we wish them well to secure new lives in safety but we have to question the ridiculous waste of money on these buses.

"I spoke with a Bibby Stockholm resident and he said they feel uncomfortable at the flagrant waste of money. He suggested they just need a service that is scheduled and published. Two buses morning and afternoon would be sufficient so that they can plan their day.

"Having worked with refugees in my professional life I know that their greatest wish is to feel welcome, and accepted and to create new lives. This level of disparity of access to buses between the refugees and members of the local community is unhelpful to everyone."

A Home Office spokesperson said“Asylum seekers accommodated on the Bibby Stockholm are not detained and through our service supplier, regular bus service is provided to transport individuals from the port to destinations agreed with local agencies.

"This service is kept under review to ensure it continues to meet the needs of those onboard.”

Cllr Carralyn Parkes, Mayor of Portland, said: "I am surprised to hear that it isn't well used.

"They have to have a bus service because without a bus the asylum seekers would not be able to leave, which would be tantamount to imprisonment.

"There isn't a comparison to be made between the bus service for the asylum seekers and ones for the public, one is a transport service and the other is so that the Government cannot be accused of imprisoning asylum seekers.

"The fact that asylum seekers have to leave the barge on a bus shows how inept the barge is as an accommodation site.

"If they were housed anywhere else they would be able to walk everywhere.

"The Bibby Stockholm is an absolute monstrosity and the sooner it goes, the better."