Action Group Vows To Fight Cuts To West Dorset Bus Services
7:23am 13th November 2014
(Updated 8:28am 13th November 2014)
A new Bus Action Group is being set up to protest against cuts to the X31 evening service on First buses between Axminster and Dorchester.
They're holding a demonstration outside County Hall in Dorchester this morning (13th November) before a meeting of Dorset County Council.
County Councillor Ros Kayes told Wessex FM: "The County Council has a duty to provide buses where there is no alternative, and rural bus operators need to step up to the mark and recognise that what is a means of generating profit for them is actually a vital service for those who need it most."
"I want to see a manifesto for public transport in West Dorset. We will be drawing up a list of things that we want to see and calling on Dorset County Council and the bus companies to provide them."
If you would like more information on the campaign visit the Facebook group Bus Action Group (West Dorset) or you can find the petition online at RosKayes.org.uk
Meanwhile, Dorset Liberal Democrats are repeating their calls for the County Council to subsidise rural transport.
They've already staged a walkout back in July after a Council meeting where the chairman refused to let a motion on bus subsidies be debated.
Bus Transport was ranked the fifth top priority for residents throughout the county in a recent Ask Dorset survey.
Ros Kayes, County Councillor for Bridport, said: "What they are telling us is that Dorset County Council pays practically the lowest rate of reimbursement on concessionary fares in the whole of the UK.
This matters because - if you are only getting say a 50p return on a ticket which really costs £3.50, it's very difficult for bus companies to break even and they are responding by cutting the services which don't make enough profit."
She's calling on the County Council to reconsider its level of reimbursement for concessionary bus passes, recognising the impact of low reimbursement on the sustainability of services , and to alter this upwards in line with the national average.