LISTEN: Dorset Greens Slam Council Over Buses
8:56am 26th September 2013
(Updated 11:47am 26th September 2013)
"Extraordinarily savage" - that's how the Green Party have described Dorset County Council's plans to cut bus services.
More than 100 people have now signed a petition in opposition to plans to axe some subsidised routes around the county.
The council say they're underused and they vital funds are being wasted on empty buses. Dorset's Green Party says it will leave people isolated and more vulnerable.
Party Spokesperson for Dorset Jane Burnet told Wessex FM it will hit communities hard;
"If you start reducing the number of services from rural areas into market towns, you're basically isolating so many people, particularly the young, the old, the low income families who use the buses to get out and about on the weekend"
The Greens have also criticised the local authority for splashing out on car park counters around Dorchester Town Centre, they say the money spent could've been used to save buses;
"They've built some cycleways with money from the sustainable transport fund which is great, but a lot of that money has been spent on signs that are around town that tell us how many spaces there are in car parks. We feel the Council should have been more prudent with this money."
You can listen to our interview with Jane Burnett from the Green Party below.
But Dorset County Council say funding which has been spent on signs for car parks in Dorchester couldn't have been used to fund bus routes as the Government had requested it be spent on one off projects.
Dorset County Council spokesperson said:
"The LSTF funding we received from the Department for Transport is for specific projects within Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester. The DfT specified that initiatives needed to be sustainable after the end of the project. Unfortunately it is not funding that can be spent elsewhere.
"Over £1M of the £2.4M grant has been spent on implementing and improving walking and cycling routes in the area. Public transport is being supported with an interchange at Dorchester South Railway station and improvements to bus shelters. The scheme also includes £150,000 for car parking guidance. These signs will make it easier for shoppers to find parking spaces and reduce the delays, congestion and environmentally damaging carbon emissions caused by lots of vehicles hunting for spaces."
To find out more about the Green Party's Petition against the planned cuts to bus services CLICK HERE